Download this fact sheet (Jan. 2019; 2 pages; pdf)
Link to the companion report

Support HB 127/SB 81 and HB 146

State Financial Aid is Underfunded and Misdirected

1. Tuition increases have been drastic

  • Tuition and fees at our public four-year universities have been increased by 38% since the recession.1
  • This is because the state has cut higher education funding by 34% since the recession.2

2. The students who most need state financial aid are not prioritized

  • Only 31% of our state aid is targeted to students in need. The U.S. average is 76%.3
  • Nearly $16 million in state aid goes to students from families earning more than $100,000 a year, most of whom can afford to attend college without financial aid.4
  • The need-based College Affordability Fund has been completely depleted to pay for unrelated state programs.5

3. State aid helps too few part-time, older, and low-income students

  • 67% of our state aid comes from the merit-based Lottery Scholarship, which is only for full-time students who recently completed high school.6 This leaves out older students and those who must work full-time while attending college.
  • 51% of our college students in public institutions are part-time, but only 32% of our state aid goes to part-time students.7

4. State aid is not enough to cover the unmet need

  • The Lottery Scholarship has gone from covering 100% of tuition to covering about 40%.8 This dis-proportionally hurts low-income students.
  • Low-income New Mexico students only get $3,600 in Pell Grants per year, on average, which covers only a fraction of actual college costs.9
  • Many students must rely on loans to attend school, but New Mexico has the second worst student loan default rate in the nation.10

What New Mexico Can Do

  • Re-invest in our public higher education institutions to help stabilize tuition costs and improve college affordability for all.
  • Support HB 146 to target more state financial aid to the students who most need it by making the Lottery Scholarship need-based and having it fully cover tuition for low-income students.
  • Support HB 127 and SB 81 to increase appropriations and disburse larger awards for the need-based College Affordability Fund to better support part-time, older, and low-income students.


    1. (On a per-student FTE, inflation-adjusted basis). Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) Higher education funding and tuition data provided to NM Voices, 2008-2018; Unkept Promises: State Cuts to Higher Education Threatens Access and Equity, 2018
    1. (When looking at inflation-adjusted state spending per FT student equivalent). Ibid
    2. National Association of State Student Grant and Aid 47th survey report on state-sponsored student financial aid, academic year 2015-16
    3. NM Higher Education Department data
    4. NM LFC Fiscal Impact Reports for College Affordability Fund bills
    5. NM Higher Education Department data (The Lottery Disability Scholarship does provide an option for part-time students but these scholarships represent less than 1% of the student recipients of the funding)
    6. NM Higher Education Department data; 2016 IES NCES data
    7. NM Higher Education Department data
    8. Distribution of Federal Pell Grants by State 2016-17, US Department of Education
    9. Cohort Student Loan 2014 Default Rate, U.S. Department of Education

A Working Poor Families Project report.
The Working Poor Families Project is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.