New Mexico Governor signs nearly $1 billion college trust fund into law



(The Center Square) – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 159 this week, establishing a nearly $1 billion taxpayer-funded trust and a scholarship program fund to fund tuition-free college in New Mexico.

“By creating this fund, New Mexico is keeping our original promise of tuition-free college for residents and cementing our status as the nation’s leader for college equity and access,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Our monumental investments from early childhood education to college and career are already making a life-changing difference for tens of thousands of New Mexicans and setting the example for every other state.”

New Mexico is the first state to create trust funds for both early childhood and higher education, the release said.

The Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund supports the Higher Education Trust Fund.

The Fund “will make it possible for state financial aid programs, including the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, to continue supporting full tuition for eligible students even in years when less state funding is available,” a release said.

The Higher Education Trust Fund will receive $959 million in initial funding. It will build revenue based on interest payments and provide $47.95 million in higher education funding in Fiscal Year 2025.

New Mexico will have the biggest higher education trust fund in the country.

“The Higher Education Trust Fund will make it possible for New Mexicans to continue to go to college tuition-free for many years to come while also maintaining healthy reserves in the state’s Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund. Current and future students depend on these scholarships to further their education, and the future of our state depends on having more highly educated residents entering the workforce and providing for their families,” State Senator Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, who sponsored the bill, said.

Lujan Grisham signed the Opportunity Scholarship Act in 2022; it has provided tuition-free college to many New Mexicans and received $162 million in funding in Fiscal Year 2025.

Now 42,379 New Mexicans are receiving the scholarship

“Research conducted by the New Mexico Higher Education Department shows that the number of students completing short-term career training certificates increased by 39 percent since the program began, and students receiving the Opportunity Scholarship are eight percent more likely to stay in school than those not receiving it,” the release said.

The scholarship recipients are disproportionately Hispanic, female, low-income, and under 24 years old.

Since the program began, college enrollment in New Mexico has increased by over 7%.

Additionally, the state has a Lottery Scholarship program that provides student scholarships.

The state established its Lottery Scholarship in 1996, covering full tuition for about 10,000 students annually.

Overall, 86% of students who get the Lottery Scholarship for at least six semesters end up getting a degree or certificate, the release said.

Information on who qualifies for the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships is available at

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