New Mexico governor proposes offering free college to all residents regardless of income

An academic building on the campus of the University of New Mexico. (Getty Images))

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s Democratic governor wants to provide free tuition and waive fees for in-state students across the state’s network of public universities, colleges and community colleges.

First-year Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the proposal for an “opportunity scholarship” on Wednesday at a community college in Albuquerque.

It would cover costs not already paid for by federal scholarships and state lottery proceeds.

The plan thrusts New Mexico to the forefront of a national political conversation about soaring student debt and tuition costs.

Free tuition would be available at continuing education programs for older students but not for graduate studies such as medical or law school.

Approval by the Democrat-led Legislature is needed to tap general fund dollars to cover tuition. New Mexico’s general fund is bulging amid an oil production boom.

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