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New Mexico to offer free college tuition to all state residents

WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/us/new-mexico-free-college-tuition.html
https://www.koat.com/article/new-mexico-will-announce-plan-to-pay-tuition-for-state-residents/29105261
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2019/09/18/new-mexico-goes-big-on-free-college-new-plan-would-pay-tuition-for-all-residents-at-two-year-and-four-year-colleges/#178129ee2ff1

The initiative proposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will offer 100% tuition coverage at any state 2 or 4 year college to all NM high school graduates (including DACA-eligible students) regardless of family income.

Free tuition will be limited to 4 or 8 semesters/student, depending on the student's program, and can be used only for undergraduate education.
edited September 18
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Replies to: New Mexico to offer free college tuition to all state residents

  • thumper1thumper1 74793 replies3278 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    That is a wonderful initiative!

    No income limits is great! Opens doors to so many...and encourages state residents to stay!
    edited September 18
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    I like that it covers CC-based vocational training as well as a traditional college education.
    edited September 18
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Way to go, fracking!!

    I just heard on the radio that the United States has enough extractable petroleum to last us 200 more years at current and projected energy usage rates. I really don't know how true that is, but obviously NM feels pretty confident in the revenues for the foreseeable future.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is a proposal by the governor that she will seek legislative approval for, so (potential) college students should not assume that it is anything close to a done deal.

    How is commuting access to New Mexico's community colleges and universities relative to how the population is distributed, and what is current state policy for financial aid for students who live outside of commuting range to a school that offers their intended program or major but have difficulty affording the higher live on/near campus costs?

    New Mexico is currently the state with the second lowest level of undergraduate student loan debt, according to https://ticas.org/interactive-map/ .
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14738 replies985 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @WayOutWestMom Actually it is a shell game. The state sales tax rate in New Mexico is 5.1250%. With local taxes, the total sales tax rate is between 5.1250% and 9.2500%. Personal income tax rates for New Mexico range from 1.7% to 4.9%, within four income brackets.

    So if the energy taxes were not used for free college tuition and went into the general fund then income and sales taxes could be lowered. Indirectly the NM taxpayer is paying for this.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    Way to go, fracking!!

    I just heard on the radio that the United States has enough extractable petroleum to last us 200 more years at current and projected energy usage rates. I really don't know how true that is, but obviously NM feels pretty confident in the revenues for the foreseeable future.

    According to the US EIA, the consumed about 7.5 billion barrels in 2018.
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=33&t=6
    Proved reserves are about 39 billion barrels as of the end of 2017.
    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_crd_pres_dcu_NUS_a.htm

    So a lot less than 200 years worth if you are using proved reserves, defined as "the estimated quantities of all liquids defined as crude oil, which geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions."

    Note that "Estimates of proved crude oil reserves do not include the following: (1) oil that may become available from known reservoirs but is reported separately as "indicated additional reserves"; (2) natural gas liquids (including lease condensate); (3) oil, the recovery of which is subject to reasonable doubt because of uncertainty as to geology, reservoir characteristics, or economic factors; (4) oil that may occur in undrilled prospects; and (5) oil that may be recovered from oil shales, coal, gilsonite, and other such sources. It is necessary that production, gathering or transportation facilities be installed or operative for a reservoir to be considered proved."

    Estimates that include more speculative oil reserves could bring the number up to about 20 times current yearly consumption, not 200 times current yearly consumption. However, an estimated 1-3 trillion barrels seem to be locked up in kerogen ("oil shale" that is different from "shale oil" that frackers are pumping oil from) that is currently uneconomical to extract oil from; including those would bring reserves to where the 200 times current production is in the ballpark.
    edited September 18
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  • sushirittosushiritto 4001 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Along with the NM taxpayer, I'm sure the environment "pays" too.
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 18
    From the Forbes article:
    The plan is estimated to cover as many as 55,000 students and cost between $25 and $35 million per year, a modest price tag that reflects the relatively low in-state tuition....
    Those numbers sound fishy. Even at $35 million, that would only be $630 per student.

    But this might suggest an explanation:
    As in several other state plans, New Mexico’s tuition coverage would kick in only after already existing state aid and federal Pell grants had been applied. One paradoxical impact of such an approach is that rich students will receive more state assistance than low-income students, many of whom will have much of their costs covered by Pell grants.
    Perhaps NM realizes that most of the 2-year students are full Pell, so the real subsidy is more like $5-7.5K for a relatively small cohort of middle- and high-income people. That actually makes good sense, as at the margins it will incentivize better students to remain in state. Tuition at the flagship is around $7500 according to the article, but now free to the presumably higher SES students there..

    edited September 18
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22975 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some states have programs that benefit the top students without regard to need like Florida's bright futures or Ga's HOPE/Zell Miller. Some benefit those with need, like NY's Excelsior, sort of without considering academics (except that the schools admit who they want). Others just give every student a flat amount, like Colorado, which will go farther at a less expensive school than at the flagship, but every credit you take gets you $75.

    NM seems to be combining several of these, as those with higher academics can get more state dollars if they go to the more expensive flagship, but they aren't taking need into consideration.

    This works unless they raise the fees, like Massachusetts does, rather than raising tuition.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How is commuting access to New Mexico's community colleges and universities relative to how the population is distributed, and what is current state policy for financial aid for students who live outside of commuting range to a school that offers their intended program or major but have difficulty affording the higher live on/near campus costs?

    NM is large state with a sparse population. The biggest population concentrations are along the I-25 corridor that runs from the central southern border to the NE corner of the state. 87% of the state population lives along I-25 from Las Cruces to Santa Fe. Two major universities, plus 2 smaller university are located on the I-25 corridor. NMSU in Las Cruces, NMTech in Socorro (midway between Cruces and ABQ), UNM in Albuquerque and Highlands in Las Vegas. Additionally there are 2 smaller state U in the E/SE and SW areas of the state. UNM and NMSU both run online undergraduate and graduate education programs with robust offerings that fulfill graduation requirements at their respective institutions.

    There are community colleges and/or 2 year branch campuses of UNM or NMSU in every county--including Harding County which is larger than the state of Delaware but has population of only 456 people.

    COL in ABQ and Las Cruces is modest. UNM charges $4400/year for room & board. NMSU R+B starts at $3800/year. Costs that can be covered by a federal student loan.


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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    Those numbers sound fishy. Even at $35 million, that would only be $630 per student.

    The bulk of tuition for NM HS grads is already being paid for by the Lottery Scholarship program. The new initiative pays for any tuition & fees not currently covered by the Lottery, plus the first semester of college or community college that a student is currently required to pay for OOP before the Lottery kicks in.

    edited September 18
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  • CU123CU123 3582 replies68 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    New Mexico has announced a plan to make public college and university free for all residents in the state, a proposal considered one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.
    The plan, if approved by the state's Democratic-controlled legislature, would allow students, regardless of household income, to attend any of the 29 state's public colleges and universities. State officials estimate that the program, officially called the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, will help 55,000 students each year attend college.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/09/18/762071931/new-mexico-unveils-plan-to-give-students-free-college-tuition-regardless-of-inco
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84095 replies1025 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    The proposed budget of $25M-35M sounds way too low.

    Why not simply have a HOPE or Bright Futures style of award. At least that rewards the students who are more likely “ready for college”.

    I don’t think college should just be “continuation of high school” which it can be for students who aren’t college-ready.

    I like that it’s not means-tested.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41882 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The universities choose the students - so there's a preparedness criterion already in place, ad it DOES cover community college and trade schools/vocational certificates.
    That being said, one goal might be to boost academic achievement because their flagship has merit for act 24.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74793 replies3278 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think we should celebrate this initiative if it passes. It provides higher education training for two year schools or trade schools, in addition to four year universities. This gives many an opportunity to learn and use valuable skills.

    It will help so many students in New Mexico who can’t currently even think about higher education...and it will be a further incentive for those who can to stay in New Mexico.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7977 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 19
    This proposal deserves praise, but I wonder if it is affordable over the long term through economic downturns.

    Perhaps it would be wiser in a financial responsibility sense to fund just the first two years with only minimal qualification (such as a high school diploma & state residency), then fund the remaining two years at four year colleges & universities only for those who have earned a stipulated minimum GPA and/or to those who major in certain needed areas.

    I suspect that New Mexico is at or very near the bottom of educational preparedness for college. If true, then maybe the money would be better spent on pre-K programs and on improving the state's public high schools. Possibly, by limiting the free college to the first two years & the second two years only for needed majors, then New Mexico could propose a more comprehensive educational initiative. Tossing an unprepared student in to a college or university may adversely affect the student & the quality of the college or university.
    edited September 19
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    Perhaps it would be wiser in a financial responsibility sense to fund just the first two years without qualification, then fund the remaining two years at four year colleges & universities only for those who have earned a stipulated minimum GPA and/or to those who major in certain needed areas.

    Reaching the third year at a four year school typically requires at least a certain minimum GPA (at least 2.0 in college, or whatever the minimum for transfer admissions is for those who started at a community college).
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