Check out higher ed opportunities in state

By Joleen Montoya and Anne Levine
Posted 12/12/19

As students decide where to pursue college or vocational programs, our goal is to help them identify a healthy range of schools in regard to admissions selectivity and affordability. We encourage every student to apply to at least one in-state program.

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Check out higher ed opportunities in state

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As students decide where to pursue college or vocational programs, our goal is to help them identify a healthy range of schools in regard to admissions selectivity and affordability. We encourage every student to apply to at least one in-state program.

Why apply to an in-state college or university?

Public colleges are committed to serving the residents and communities in their state. Residents are charged lower tuition and given broader opportunities to attain grants and scholarships that increase affordability. The New Mexico Higher Education Department offers New Mexico high school and GED/HSE (high school equivalency) graduates the Legislative Lottery Scholarship, or the "lottery scholarship," to increase access and completion - and decrease student loan debt.

The lottery scholarship pays for a percentage of tuition at not-for-profit public schools in New Mexico. For a list of New Mexico public colleges and universities, visit collegesimply.com/colleges/new-mexico/public-colleges.

Students must enroll full time, either taking 12 credit hours at a two-year college or 15 credit hours at a four-year college, while maintaining a 2.5 minimum GPA during their first semester and throughout their academic career. The scholarship begins during the second semester of freshman year.

Eligible students receive the Lottery Scholarship up to three semesters at two-year schools and seven semesters at four-year schools. Students have up to 16 months from graduation or completion of their GED/HSE to enroll full time at a New Mexico college or university.

Home-schooled students must pass the New Mexico GED/HSE to be eligible for the scholarship. Students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements and additional semesters in order to complete their education. These accommodations are arranged directly through the financial aid department at their postsecondary institution.

Students who join the military within four months of high school completion are also eligible for the lottery scholarship. These students must enroll within 16 months of completion of honorable service or medical discharge. To learn more about the lottery scholarship, visit NMHED at hed.state.nm.us/students/lotteryscholarship.aspx.

Western Undergraduate Exchange

New Mexico students are also eligible to take advantage of the Western Undergraduate Exchange. The WUE is a consortium of 16 western U.S. states and territories partnering to offer reduced tuition to residents of participating states. If the student meets the school's WUE requirements, they can pay 150 percent of the in-state tuition, rather than out-of-state tuition. To learn about eligibility criteria for each school, visit the WUE website at wiche.edu/wue

If you would like help working through applications to college or vocational programs, give us a call to set up an appointment. Bridges will be closed for winter break from Dec. 23 through Jan. 5. We wish you all a very happy holiday season!

Call or email Bridges Project at (575) 758.5074 or info@bridgesproject.org.

Joleen Montoya and Anne Levine are college counselors at Bridges Project for Education, which has been providing free college counseling since 1997.

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