New Mexico Student Grants for College
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The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) is the first resource a New Mexico student should explore to discover what the state has to offer in terms of financial aid. NMHED’s page of information on available grants will help you locate current information on the state’s three grant programs.
Like most other types of financial aid, all the New Mexico grants require you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They are based on financial need, and your need will be calculated by your school’s financial aid office. Individual schools set their own application deadlines, so ask your financial aid counselor how the process works.
College Affordability Grant
The College Affordability Grant is given to financially needy New Mexico students who are attending a public college or university in the state. To apply, you must be ineligible for other scholarships or grants provided by the state and you must be an undergraduate. The scholarship is renewable for as many as eight semesters if your attendance is continuous (you may not take time off from school), and you must take no less than six credit hours.
The most you can receive is $1,000 per semester, and you must turn in a satisfactory academic performance.
New Mexico Student Incentive Grant
The New Mexico Student Incentive Grant is for those with more pressing financial need who are enrolled in either a public school or one of the following other universities, which are all in New Mexico: St. John’s College (Santa Fe), University of the Southwest, Institute of American Indian Art, Crownpoint Institute of Technology, Diné College, and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.
Award amounts range from $200 to $2,500, and there are prorated awards given to students who are enrolled part-time. You must be a U. S. citizen and a resident of New Mexico, you must be an undergraduate enrolled at least half-time, and you must be able to show financial need.
Student Choice Grant
The Student Choice Grant, also intended for more financially needy students, goes to those attending either St. John’s College (Santa Fe) or University of the Southwest in New Mexico. Your school takes responsibility for deciding how much to give you, and as with the New Mexico Student Incentive Grant, part-time students may apply for prorated awards. Minimum enrollment is six credit hours.
Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) is another way for New Mexico students to obtain educational funding. If you have obtained a degree in healthcare, and you agree to work in New Mexico, you will be required to work full-time in an area designated by the state as in critical need of services. Here are the categories of employee most needed, who are given preference in receiving funding:
- Allopathic doctor
- Osteopathic doctor and physician assistant
- Mental health care provider
- Advanced practice nurse, and
- Allied health care provider.
Application Scoring Process
HPLRP has developed an interesting ranking system with which to evaluate potential recipients. A higher score means priority in gaining approval of one’s application, because the program has limited means. In general, applications to work in areas that are considered most in need will move to the top of the list. Here are the other criteria used to decide:
- Federal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) score
- Type of area chosen (either frontier, rural, or urban). Frontier areas are rural, isolated, and minimally populated.
- Key indicators of overall health in your chosen area. Determining these is usually a task assigned to public health agencies, using information like statistics on death and disease, access to healthcare, and common behaviors that affect health (such as smoking or choosing unhealthy food).
- What population you will be serving. The more current access to care that population has, the less urgently your help will be needed.
As you will have noticed, you have ample opportunity to make your application attractive if you’re in a preferred profession by choosing an area considered a high priority. The scoring criteria sheet will explain, in detail, how to choose an area most likely to win approval and loan repayment.
Other Program Notes
If you choose a federally designated HPSA, the most you can receive is $35,000, and otherwise the maximum is $25,000. Other factors that affect the amount of your award are the amount of your remaining student loan debt and the amount of funding given to the grant program that year. Preference goes to those who reside in state and those who graduated from New Mexico’s public universities.
You must be a U. S. citizen, you must have your in-state license or certification by the time your award period begins, and you must supply proof of your student loan debt.