$197 million budget sustains tuition-free college, expands successful education and workforce initiatives
The New Mexico Higher Education Department (HED) released its FY25 budget recommendation today, which includes an additional $12 million for key initiatives benefitting students and New Mexico’s workforce while sustaining tuition-free college via the Opportunity Scholarship.
This year’s general fund budget recommendation totals $197 million, a $12.05 million increase from the prior year to expand already successful scholarship and loan repayment programs, continue the state’s work to improve student food security, increase access to mental and behavioral health services, and to support the dual credit program and tribal education, among other priorities.
“This year’s budget builds upon the success New Mexico is seeing in higher education and ensures that students not only have access to college and career training opportunities, but that they have the support they need to reach graduation day. By sustaining the groundbreaking Opportunity Scholarship, our record-breaking loan repayment programs and expanding additional supports for students, New Mexico will lead the nation not only in higher education access, but in student success,” said Acting Higher Education Secretary Patricia Trujillo, Ph.D.
The FY25 budget includes $146 million in recurring funding for the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, the nation’s most inclusive tuition-free college program. Gov. Lujan Grisham and HED announced earlier this year that since the enactment of the Opportunity Scholarship Act in 2022, New Mexico has enrolled an additional 6,700 students, a nearly 7 percent enrollment increase over the last two years. Since 2022, the scholarship has benefitted over 36,000 students each year pursuing certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees and public and tribal colleges and universities statewide.
The agency is also requesting $20 million for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program and $19.3 million for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program. Both programs require multi-year service commitments as a condition of loan forgiveness and have broken records over the past two years for the number of working professionals served.
An additional $969,100 is proposed for graduate student scholarships, and $1 million is recommended for the Minority Doctoral Loan Repayment Program to support historically underrepresented groups teaching in the fields of engineering, science, mathematics, and other academic disciplines at colleges and universities in New Mexico.
A priority of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, $500,000 is requested to establish an anti-hazing division and reporting portal at the Higher Education Department to protect students from hazing incidents and increase state oversight of college athletics programs.
A 15 percent increase is requested for agency operations to add eight additional full-time staff to support key functions from fiscal oversight to academic policy and community outreach. Currently, the Department administers 12 percent of the state’s budget with a workforce of 52 full-time employees.
Additional budget recommendations include:
- $295,604,755 to support new construction, renovation, and infrastructure needs statewide
- $11,972,395 to support demolition of facilities
- $7.45 million for Adult Education and Literacy Programs
- $3.7 million for RISE NM – New Mexico’s longitudinal data system
- $4 million for the Dual Credit Program
- $1 million for the College Basic Needs Project
- $1 million for the College Mental and Behavioral Health Initiative
- $2.25 million for Tribal Education Technical Assistance Centers
- $350,000 for test vouchers and instructional materials for adult education programs
The New Mexico Higher Education Department also presented its funding recommendation for the state’s public colleges and universities, which includes a 5% increase to institutions’ operational funding and targeted increases to health care, mental and behavioral health and social work, education and teacher preparation, and student support services.
HED’s budget presentation is available here.