Representative John Block Sponsors Bill to Kill Opportunity Scholarship Fund


Otero County District 51 Representative John Block sponsored legislation to kill the Opportunity Scholarship Fund via HB0107. This would harm New Mexico State University Alamogordo and other community colleges, 35,000 New Mexico students are eligible for this fund who otherwise might not have the opportunity to attend New Mexico’s institutions of higher learning.

New Mexico is no stranger to state-paid college scholarships. For over two decades, the state has had the Legislative Lottery Scholarship, often called the Lottery Scholarship. Started in 1996, the program has helped around 135,000 students attend college, according to the Legislative Finance Committee.

The total state budget is $9.44 Billion. This program is $100 Million. Are there not other places where there is fat in the budget verses education? Unskilled and uneducated workers don’t get paid living wages. Education creates jobs and lowers poverty. The cost of the 3 month legislative session is Called the feed bill, it sets aside $57.4 million to pay for the 2023 legislative session and to keep the Roundhouse running later this year after the session ends. The legislature’s budget could send 17,000 New Mexico children to in state colleges. 

John Blocks sponsored legislation to kill this program of higher educational opportunities…



SECTION 1. REPEAL.--Sections 21-21R-1 through 21-21R-8 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2022, Chapter 42, Sections 1 through 8) are repealed.

SECTION 2. TEMPORARY PROVISION--FUND BALANCES TO GENERAL FUND.--The higher education department shall not distribute money in the opportunity scholarship fund after the semester of any public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college that is contemporaneous with the repeal of the Opportunity Scholarship Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance in the opportunity scholarship fund on July 1, 2023 shall revert to the general fund.

SECTION 3. EMERGENCY.--It is necessary for the public peace, health and safety that this act take effect immediately.

Program specifics…

“The intention of the program is for returning students or students, parents in the workforce, or individuals who have had their higher education interrupted,” explains Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, who sponsored the legislation. “Sometimes plans don’t go ahead with life as we expect. Sometimes people get sick, sometimes they have to become caregivers. . .So this program is really designed to assist individuals in gaining certificates through certificate programs, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.”

The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship provides tuition and required fee assistance for New Mexico residents who meet eligibility and are pursuing a training certificate, Associate Degree, or Bachelor’s Degree at a New Mexico public college or university.

The Opportunity Scholarship is awarded during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters starting the 2022-2023 academic year.

The Opportunity Scholarship will cover up to 100% of tuition and required fees and up to $50 per credit hour for course specific fees. There is no application required for the Opportunity Scholarship. If you meet the eligibility criteria.

Awards up to $2,100 per student per semester ($4,200 per school year). NCSEAA administers the program.

The fund is the only state-funded scholarship program in the nation to include both recent high school graduates and returning adult learners; accommodate part-time students; include career training certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees; and cover summer courses. In addition to covering full tuition and fees at in-state public colleges and universities, the scholarship lets students stack federal aid such as Pell Grants, local scholarships, and private scholarships so that they can use these funds to pay for books, materials, housing, food, transportation, childcare and other college costs.

The General Appropriations Act directs $75 million to the scholarship program, which could support up to 35,000 students, or over half of all undergraduate students in New Mexico. Over 10,000 Opportunity Scholarships have already been awarded to students over the past two years through prior appropriations.


  • Be a resident of New Mexico.
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or received a high school equivalency credential
  • For recent graduate learners, enroll 15 credits hours but no more than 18 credits hours for the Fall and Spring semester.
  • For returning learners, enrolled in at least six credit hours, but no more than 18 credit hours in the Fall or Spring semester.
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) beginning with the first semester receiving the scholarship
  • Do not exceed 160 attempted credit hours for completion of an Bachelor’s Degree
    • The scholarship covers up to 90 attempted credit hours for an Associate degree and 160 attempted credit hours for a Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Students who currently have an Bachelor’s Degree are not eligible.
  • Non-credit programs are not eligible
  • Students are encouraged, but are not required, to complete a FAFSA.
  • Institutional scholarships apply to tuition and fees before the Opportunity Scholarship during the student's initial semester.

Continuing Eligibility

  • Maintains a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Maintains Consecutive enrollment
  • Meets earned credit hour criteria (15 new credits for recent graduate learners or 6 new credit hours for returning learners)

Duration of the Scholarship

  • Scholarships may continue for an eligible student for up to 160 attempted credit hours or the completion of an Bachelor’s Degree.
  • For recent graduate learners, enroll full-time (at least 15 credit hours no more than 18 credit hours for fall and spring semester) in a Bachelors program.

Reach out to the state legislature and Representative John Block with your thoughts on killing this program encouraging higher education levels of New Mexico’s citizens via official email at office number as well is (520) 986-4220
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