Governor Lujan Grisham approves historic $1.3B budget boost for higher education initiatives

Anne Maclachlan


SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has approved a record $1.3 billion to support higher education statewide in FY25, a nearly 4% increase from last year that includes expanded funding for proven tuition-free college, loan repayment programs and workforce initiatives.  

“Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's visionary leadership, New Mexico is steadfast in its commitment to fostering accessible and equitable education for all. This significant funding underscores our dedication to realizing the promise of cradle-to-career education, empowering individuals, bolstering our economy, and enriching our communities. It exemplifies our unwavering belief that education is the cornerstone of progress and prosperity for every New Mexican," said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez. 

The governor approved $162 million for the Opportunity Scholarship, the largest appropriation in program history. Combined with the creation of the state Higher Education Trust Fund, New Mexico now dedicates a greater proportion of state funding to tuition-free college than any other state. A record 42,000 students benefited from the program last year, with 10,000 students using the program to attend college in the summer. Since the signing of the Opportunity Scholarship Act in 2022, statewide enrollment has increased by more than 7% and completion of short-term certificates has increased by 39%.  Between 2021 and 2022, students receiving the Opportunity Scholarship were 8 percentage points likelier to stay in schools than their peers.  

The state’s record-breaking loan repayment and scholarship programs for working health care professionals and teachers received a continuation of expanded funding from last year. The Health Loan Repayment Program received $14.6 million for the second year in a row to provide up to $25,000 in student loan forgiveness to 700 working doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health professionals and others with a three-year service commitment. The Teacher Loan Repayment Program is sustained at $5 million, and the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship also received a $5 million appropriation.  

Colleges and universities will see a 4% increase in operational funding for a total $1.1 billion going toward the state’s 25 public colleges and universities. Additionally, the governor approved $325 million for capital outlay projects on college campuses, $32.5 million for building renewal and replacement and $5 million for equipment renewal and replacement. College faculty and employees will also receive an average 3 percent pay increase and a funding increase of one percent toward employee benefits.


Additional budget measures signed by the governor are outlined below:  

$15 million for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program 

$14.8 million to expand nurse education programs  

$25 million to provide matching funds for university research 

$10 million for scholarships for master’s and doctoral students pursuing STEM degrees  

$10 million to create endowed faculty positions and fund scholarships in social work education programs 

$20 million to support students in workforce training programs not covered by other financial aid programs 

$2 million for a pilot program to support adult students in Integrated Education and Training Programs  

$3.725 million for RISE NM, the state’s education and workforce longitudinal data system 

$3 million for the state’s six centers of excellence for social work, agriculture, early childhood education, cybersecurity, renewable energy and biosciences  

$750,000 for adult literacy programs  

$1 million for the Dual Credit Program at public colleges and universities  

$600,000 for the Dual Credit Program at tribal colleges and universities  

$6,828,000 for adult education programs, including instructional materials and high school equivalency test vouchers.  

$5 million for the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship 

$5 million for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program  

$5.5 million for cybersecurity initiatives for K-12 and higher education