Financial Aid and Student Loans in New Mexico

If you’re going to be studying in New Mexico, the good news is that it’s one of the more affordable places to hit the books. With an average cost of attendance of $21,344, 49% of New Mexico students graduate with student loan debt.

In September 2019, the press reported that the Governor of New Mexico revealed a desire to make tuition-free for all students in New Mexico. We are interested to see how this develops in the future.

It’s cheaper to study in New Mexico than many other states, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan your finances effectively so that you can minimize your graduate debt.

What scholarship programs does New Mexico have?

Most scholarships are won on merit for academic or sporting achievement, but some are based on financial need. Eligibility often requires academic excellence, too. There are also some scholarships awarded to people based on ethnic origin or religion.

There are far too many scholarships to list here in full, but you can search in more detail at resources like,, and Your college counselors and college financial aid office should also be of some assistance.

Below, we’ve listed a few sponsorships you might like to consider:

New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship

New Mexico residents who have completed high school or graduated from a public school can get assistance with a percentage of tuition fees thanks to the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship.

New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship will eventually replace this option. Currently, the Lottery funds around 60-70 percent of tuition fees, but this depends on the type of institution. Eligible applicants must score a minimum 2.5 GPA to qualify. The scholarship is reviewed every semester.

New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship

Spearheaded by Governor Lujan Grisham, this program is designed to take over fot the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, and will eventually promise to make college essentially free to eligible New Mexico residents. 

Rolling out in two phases, phase 1 launches in 2020 and focuses on providing aid to 2-year colleges and trade schools. Phase 2 will expand 100% tuition and fees coverage to 4-year public colleges, and is expected to launch in 2021. 

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have resided in New Mexico for at least a year
  • Have graduated high school in New Mexico or attained your GED
  • Maintain a GPA of at least 2.5
  • Be a full-time student studying toward your bachelor’s degree
  • Start your studies within sixteen months of graduating from high school, getting your GED, or being honorably discharged from the military
  • Complete your studies within a five-year period

New Mexico Assistance Fund FAFSA Scholarship

High school seniors from New Mexico can apply for this scholarship. The prizes listed below are all based on a random draw. All you have to do to put yourself in the running is to complete your FAFSA application by the 3rd of April. Then head to the site and enter the competition.

The prizes won here can be used for anything that you like.

There are three prizes:

  • 4 students win a 2-in-1 laptop/tablets (worth $579)
  • 15 students receive $500
  • 10 students receive a $100 gift card

Students may be offered further scholarship opportunities once they’ve entered this contest. We do recommend applying for scholarships individually, though.

New Mexico Scholars

The New Mexico Scholars Scholarship encourages NM high school graduates to enroll in college full-time at a public or private non-profit postsecondary in NM before their 21st birthday in an undergraduate program.

In addition to being a resident of New Mexico, this scholarship’s eligibiltiy criteria are:

  • Must have graduated from a New Mexico high school in top 5% of class or obtain a score of 25 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT
  • Student must attend an eligible public or private not for profit post-secondary institution
  • Undergraduate
  • Enrolled full time
  • Based on family income:  Combined family income may not exceed $60,000 per year.

What grant programs does New Mexico have?

In addition to federal grant programs,  some state grant programs are based on financial need, and others are based on factors like ethnic background, gender, or religion. Qualifying for a grant requires students to be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or professional college.

Student Incentive Grant Program

High school graduates and first-year students are eligible to apply for this grant. The grant amount ranges between $200 and $2,500 a year.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Reside in New Mexico
  • Enrolled as an undergraduate as a half-time or full-time student
  • Be able to prove that you need financial assistance
  • Have graduated high school or gotten your GED

College Affordability Grant

The grant is available to students unable to qualify for other grants and scholarships. The essential criteria are the same as for the Student Incentive program. It offers $1,000 per semester. The award may be renewed for up to 8 semesters depending on academic performance.

What student loan programs does New Mexico have?

In addition to nationally available student loans, New Mexico has a number of state-specific loan programs.

The New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF) Private student loan

The New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation issues private loans that are cheaper than federal aid loans. NMEAF private loans offer three repayment options:

  • Immediate (the cheapest option), at a rate of 4.85%. Repayments start immediately.
  • Interest Only, repaid while you’re studying at a rate of 5.60%.
  • Deferred (the most expensive option), but repayments start after graduation at a rate of 6.35%.

The NMEAF also offers the New Mexico Professional Professionals Program. It provides loans to those qualifying in law, health, or nursing to help pay off loans in return for service in the community after graduation.

  • Public Service Law Loan Repayment Program
  • Medical Loan for Service
  • Nurse Educator for Service
  • Allied Health Line for Service

New Mexico Loan-For-Service Programs

Loan-For-Service programs offer highly competitive loan rates to students who have committed to a certain career, post-college. Currently, the following Loan-For-Service programs are available in New Mexico

  • Allied Health Loan-For-Service Program
  • Medical Loan-For-Service Program
  • Nursing Loan-For-Service Program
  • Nurse Educator Loan-For-Service Program
  • Teacher Loan-For-Service Program
  • WICHE Loan-For-Service Program

Federal student loans

Prospective New Mexico students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). 

Private co-signed student loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What schools does Funding U lend to in New Mexico?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in New Mexico that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate. 

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Eastern New Mexico University-Main CampusNoNoNoNo3563
Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts DevelopmentNoNoNoNo1161
New Mexico Highlands UniversityNoNoNoNo2145
New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologyNoNoYesYes5674
New Mexico State University-Main CampusNoNoNoNo4774
St. John's College (New Mexico)NoNoYesYes6478
University of New Mexico-Main CampusNoNoYesYes5078
University of the SouthwestNoNoNoNo1847
Western New Mexico UniversityNoNoNoNo2663

Don’t see the school you want to apply to on the list? Begin the application process, and we’ll check if it’s eligible. Find out more about how to determine eligibility here. 

Important dates and information for students in New Mexico

FAFSA applications close the 30th of June 2020, but be sure to check that the deadline at your school isn’t sooner.

Make sure you have your application submitted early to increase your chances of funding.

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