The Land of Enchantment—A.K.A. New Mexico—has so many natural landscapes and features to view. The eastern side of the state is home to the Great Plains with its high plateaus, deep canyons and the Carlsbad Caverns. The Rocky Mountains line the northern part of the state and that is where you can see Wheeler Peak, the state’s highest point. The central and southwestern parts of the state are considered to be the Basin and Range Regions where the Rio Grande and White Sands National Monument can be found.

Some of the other enchanting things about New Mexico are its college financial aid programs. The state and its Department of Higher Education offer its college-bound, resident students many types of grants and scholarships to help them afford to attend in-state colleges and universities.

Some of the best financial aid programs the state offers include the New Mexico Student Incentive Grant, the College Affordability Grant, the Athletic Scholarship, the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship and the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship.

New Mexico Student Incentive Grant

The New Mexico Student Incentive Grant is designed to help New Mexico students with a substantial financial need for funding afford to attend an in-state public or tribal college.

To be eligible for the grant, a student must:

  • Be a New Mexico resident
  • Be enrolled at least as a half-time student
  • Be an undergraduate student
  • Be attending a public or tribal New Mexico college
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding
  • Have completed and receive a high school diploma or equivalent

Each college has its own application process, so eligible students are encouraged to visit their college’s financial aid office for application details. The grant can award a student with funds between $200 to $2,500 per year. The award is renewable and a student can receive funds every academic year until the student earns their bachelor’s degree.

College Affordability Grant

The College Affordability Grant is designed to encourage college-bound New Mexico students who demonstrate a financial need for funding but do not qualify for other state financial aid programs to attend and complete degree programs at in-state colleges.

To be eligible for the grant, a student must:

  • Be a New Mexico resident
  • Be enrolled at least as a half-time student
  • Be an undergraduate student
  • Be attending an eligible New Mexico college
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding
  • Have completed and receive a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.

Each college has its own application process, so eligible students are encouraged to visit their college’s financial aid office for application details, though it is also necessary to file FAFSA every year as part of the application process.

The grant can provide students with up to $1,500 per semester depending on the student’s financial need. The award is renewable until the student graduates with their bachelor’s degree.

Athletic Scholarship

The Athletic Scholarship is designed to help student athletes attending New Mexico colleges afford to receive a higher education. Students do not need to be New Mexico residents to receive this scholarship.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Attend one of the six eligible New Mexico colleges
  • Be a student-athlete at one of the six eligible colleges

Each college has its own application process, so eligible students are encouraged to visit their college’s financial aid office for application details. The scholarship will cover tuition costs and fees for the student and it is a renewable award.

New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship

The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship is designed to help college-bound New Mexico students afford to attend in-state colleges.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a New Mexico resident
  • Have graduated from a New Mexico high school
  • Be enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student at a public New Mexico postsecondary institution within 16 months of their high school graduation
    • Full-time at a four-year public college is defined as 15 credit hours per semester
    • Full-time at a two-year public community college is defined as 12 credit hours per semester
  • Maintain continuous, full-time enrollment
  • Maintain a 2.50 or higher cumulative college GPA each semester
    • The student’s high school GPA does not impact their eligibility for this award.
  • Complete and file FAFSA annually

There is no separate application to submit for this scholarship, though students should check in with their college’s financial aid office to verify their eligibility.

The Legislative Lottery Scholarship will provide students with a flat award based on the type of college they are attending (four-year, two-year, research, comprehensive, etc.). The award will pay a portion of the student’s tuition for the eligible college of their choice.

A student will receive funding from the scholarship during their second semester of enrollment at the eligible college of their choice. The award can be renewed on a per-semester basis for up to seven semesters at a four-year institution or until a student earns their bachelor’s degree (whichever occurs first) or for three semesters at a two-year institution.

 New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship

The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship is designed to enable thousands of students across the state to pursue a higher education within the state and to help revitalize the economy by training students to eventually earn sustainable, in-state jobs.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a New Mexico resident
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Attend a public or tribal New Mexico college
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student (12 credit hours) in a credit-bearing, two-year degree/certificate-seeking program
  • Maintain a 2.50 GPA or higher

Students can benefit from this scholarship at nearly any time as long as they are at least 18 years old. It does not matter if the student graduated from high school three months ago or 30 years ago.

The scholarship will cover any gap in tuition and fees owed by a student after other forms of state financial aid are applied to their total college costs.

If a student does not qualify for other forms of state financial aid, they can also pair federal student aid with the Opportunity Scholarship together to help them afford to attend college.

Major New Mexico Colleges and Universities

New Mexico residents can choose to attend some great colleges and universities in the Land of Enchantment. Some of the popular schools include:

  • Eastern New Mexico University in Portales (main campus) (public)
  • New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas (public)
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining Technology in Socorro (public)
  • New Mexico State University in Las Cruces (main campus) (public)
  • Northern New Mexico College in Española (public)
  • University of New Mexico in Albuquerque (main campus) (public)
  • Western New Mexico University in Silver City (public)

While New Mexico is home to so much beautiful, natural scenery in its 121,590 sq. miles of area, it is also home to wonderful financial aid programs that can help its residents afford to attend in-state colleges.