The New Mexico Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, there are options for New Mexico residents of all ages to pursue college and career training tuition-free.

Graduate from San Juan College Standing in cap and gown holding diploma

Students may be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship if they are an established New Mexico resident and plan to enroll in at least six credit hours (part-time) at a public college or university in New Mexico toward a training certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree.

The Lottery Scholarship has different eligibility requirements than the Opportunity Scholarship. Lottery applicants must be a recent high school graduate from a New Mexico public or private school or a recent honorably discharged veteran who plans to enroll within 16 months of graduating or leaving the service. Lottery applicants may qualify if they enroll in 12 credit hours (full-time) at a community college or 15 hours at a university.

Although the Opportunity Scholarship and the Lottery Scholarship can both be used to cover up to 100 percent of tuition and required fees at any New Mexico public college or university, students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They can still be eligible to receive federal grants in addition to state scholarships that can help with other college costs, such as books, materials, housing, and transportation.

“The Financial Aid office has a computer lab and we will assist students with completing their FAFSA, no matter where the student plans to attend college,” says Mindi Schrum, senior director of the Financial Aid office. “We encourage students to visit with us so that we can walk them through the financial process. We want every student to receive the best aid package possible.”

Members of federally-recognized Tribes that are partially or wholly present in New Mexico qualify for state scholarship programs, even if they are living outside of New Mexico.

Including San Juan College, there are 29 participating two-year and four-year New Mexico colleges in the Opportunity Scholarship program. For more information or to talk to a Financial Aid staff member, call 505-566-3323

3 Steps to FREE College

How to qualify for FREE tuition at a New Mexico college or university:

  1. First, apply to a New Mexico college or university
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  3. Enroll part-time or full-time in a credit-bearing training certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree program


Financial Aid
Phone: (505) 566-3323
Fax: (505) 566-3593
Educational Service Building, Room 4136
M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.