College education will become less affordable for New Mexicans

January 9, 2012

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505 

ALBUQUERQUE—With the state’s vast network of universities, community colleges, and branch campuses—coupled with relatively low tuition and the lottery scholarship—a post-secondary education in New Mexico has been relatively inexpensive. But the recession and changes in the state budget have made college much less affordable. Moreover, tuition hikes have squeezed the state’s lottery scholarship fund.

Those are some of the main conclusions from a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children, “Higher Education Expenditures and College Affordability in New Mexico.”

“The lottery scholarship has been a great success in making a college education possible for New Mexicans,” said Gerry Bradley, NM Voices’ Research Director and report author. “But by the state’s own reckoning, the fund will near depletion in 2015 even if tuition is not raised again,” he added.

The report shows that while more future jobs will require some college education, New Mexico is actually graduating fewer high schoolers. And, while the onset of the recession has led to an increase in college enrollment, the state has steadily decreased the amount of money it spends on a per-student basis.

“Lawmakers did not have to deal with the budget shortfalls of the last few years by cutting funding to programs like higher education. Instead of raising tuition at a time when more and more people need to improve their education and job skills, lawmakers could have chosen to raise new revenue. But they forced the colleges to raise the revenue from students,” Bradley added.

One of the recommendations in the report is to make the lottery scholarship based on need so that it is available only to students who could not afford to attend college without it.

The report is available online at:


New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities.
2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p);