Issue: Education

Legislation & Policy Change

New Mexico First’s legislative platform comes from consensus‐driven town hall deliberations. The two‐day statewide town halls are typically comprised of 200 or more people representing urban, rural and tribal communities. Participants include students, parents, educators, nonprofit and business professionals, and government officials. New Mexico First is pleased to advance high priority legislation that is based on the 2018 higher ed town hall recommendations.


Current Legislation (Track legislation)

HB 127/SB 81: College affordability act changes (Stabilize and expand the college affordability fund)

In New Mexico, tuition rates continue to rise. No matter what careers New Mexico students want to pursue, rising education costs can make college seem out of reach, especially for low‐income students. To help more students pay for schooling, the New Mexico Legislature established the College Affordability Fund in 2005. It was intended to provide support, up to $1,000 per semester, for students of any age who lack other financial resources and do not meet the requirements of the Lottery Scholarship. The program serves 3,000‐5,000 people per year. However, without intervention, FY18 will be the last year students may apply for these dollars.

On behalf of the 2018 statewide town on higher education:

  • New Mexico First advocates replenishing the College Affordability Endowment Fund, which helps finance education for nontraditional and tribal students.
  • New Mexico First advocates increased award amounts to reflect rising tuition costs.

New Mexico First’s town hall implementation thus recommends the following actions for the 2019 legislative session:

  • Support HB 127: College affordability act changes, sponsors: Rep. Andres Romero (D) Sen. Gay Kernan (R) 
  • Use existing state revenue surplus to appropriate $50 million to help replenish the fund and begin re‐ growing the endowment.
  • Amend the law to authorize $3 million a year in expenditures for student scholarships.
  • Amend the law to increase the per‐student per‐semester cap to $1,500 scholarship awards.

Resources

  • New Mexico First Legislative Brief: College Affordability Fund New Mexico First Legislative Brief: College Affordability Fund
      25-Jan-2019

  • HB 253: Higher education and workforce career pathways (SUNPATH: Workforce career pathway program)

    The proposal would fund a sustainability pilot project at eight NM community colleges for the next four years that currently offer the SUNPATH higher education and workforce career pathways program. Funding would go to Santa Fe Community College to administer and manage the statewide program just as it has under the U.S. Department of Labor grant. The program would continue to leverage current Department of Workforce Solutions and matching institutional funds. It would require measurement of program and student outcomes and provide the option to expand into other in-demand industries (energy, IT, K-12 teacher training)

    On behalf of the 2018 statewide town on higher education:

    • New Mexico First advocates for career pathways for student success.
    • New Mexico First advocates for the funding and expansion of NM SUNPATH career pathway program to more community colleges and industries.

    New Mexico First’s town hall implementation thus recommends the following actions for the 2019 legislative session:

    • Support HB 253: Higher ed and workforce career pathways, sponsors: Rep. Liz Thomson (D) Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R)
    • That the state provides a permanent funding stream to sustain and expand the SUNPATH program into more community colleges and apply it to other demand industries.

    SUNPATH Resources

    VIDEO: Co-Location of On Campus Job Development Career Coach (JDCC) Industry, workforce collaboration key component of SUNPATH program success
  • New Mexico First Legislative Brief: SUNPATH New Mexico First Legislative Brief: SUNPATH
      25-Jan-2019
  • SUNPATH: Year-4-Progress-Report SUNPATH: Year-4-Progress-Report
      25-Jan-2019
  • SUNPATH: Comparison Study Presentation SUNPATH: Comparison Study Presentation
      25-Jan-2019
  • SUNPATH: Return on Investment - BBER Study Final Report SUNPATH: Return on Investment - BBER Study Final Report
      25-Jan-2019
  • SUNPATH: Return on Investment - BBER Presentation SUN PATH SUNPATH: Return on Investment - BBER Presentation SUN PATH
      25-Jan-2019




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