Gov. Lujan Grisham signs legislation expanding tuition-free college, university research and more

Anne Maclachlan


SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed five bills into law that sustain and expand tuition-free college, fund university research, support students in career training programs and adopt affirmative consent policies on college campuses. 

“By signing these key bills, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ensured that New Mexico continues to be a leader in higher education. With these five new laws, we’re making college more accessible and affordable, supporting our workforce, keeping our state at the forefront of innovation and making sure campuses are safe. We’re giving every student the chance to succeed and grow right here,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez.  

Senate Bill 159: Higher Education Trust Fund (Sen. Pete Campos)
Creates the nation’s largest trust fund for tuition-free college at $959 million via the Tax Stabilization Fund to sustain funding for the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships for the foreseeable future. An initial distribution of $47.95 million will be made to the program fund in FY25. The Opportunity Scholarship currently supports over 42,000 students and the Lottery Scholarship supports around 10,000 each year. 

Senate Bill 239: Opportunity and Lottery Scholarship Changes (Sen. George K. Muñoz and Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill) 
Adjusts eligibility criteria for the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships to provide more flexibility for students to meet credit hour requirements over a full academic year rather than per semester and allows the Lottery Scholarship to cover summer classes. The law also removes college credits earned by high school students under the dual credit program from counting toward the credit hour cap for the Opportunity Scholarship. 

House Bill 303: Workforce Training Funds Pilot (Rep. Linda Serrato and Rep. Cristina Parajón) 
Makes New Mexico the first state to develop a pilot program to provide stipends to low-income adult education students enrolled integrated education and training (IET) programs. IET programs prepare New Mexico adults to earn a high school equivalency credential or improve English language skills while earning an industry-recognized credential in a high-demand field at the same time. Areas of focus can include health care, construction, early childhood education, renewable energy, broadband expansion, agriculture and more. The pilot will promote access and completion in these programs. Gov. Lujan Grisham approved a total $6 million over the next three years to support IET programs, which will also fund the pilot.


House Bill 270: Higher Education Technology Enhancement Fund (Rep. Joseph L. Sanchez, Rep. Gail Armstrong, Rep. Tara L. Lujan, Rep. Art De La Cruz and Rep. Meredith A. Dixon) 
Makes updates to the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s Technology Enhancement Fund (TEF). Provisions and requires project proposals to be evaluated on their benefits for economic development, workforce education as well as rural and tribal communities. The TEF makes matching funds available to public research universities competing for federal grants supporting research in key areas including medicine, agriculture, STEM and others. A committee made up of science and business experts review and score projects as part of a competitive application process.  T he University of New Mexico, Navajo Technical University, New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology will be eligible for these funds. Gov. Lujan Grisham approved $25 million for the TEF in FY25.

House Bill 151: Post-Secondary Affirmative Consent (Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, Rep. Charlotte Little, Rep. Andrea Romero, Rep. Yanira Gurrola and Rep. Gail Chasey) 

Requires public and private colleges and universities in New Mexico to adopt policies and trauma-informed responses that address affirmative consent or a “yes means yes” standard and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, harassment and stalking on- and off-campus. Colleges and universities must also provide comprehensive prevention and outreach and adopt detailed, trauma-informed procedures for investigation and discipline related to incidents.