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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

New Mexico earns high marks, boosts enrollment with no-cost college

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024   

New Mexico consistently ranks low in childhood educational achievement, but its path to a college degree is being recognized at the highest levels.

President Joe Biden has applauded New Mexico for leading the way in no-cost higher education, along with loan repayment and loan-for-service programs.

Stephanie Rodriguez, the state's secretary of higher education, said a recent "gold star" designation by the Campaign for Free College acknowledges the state's tuition-free Opportunity Scholarship program as one of the most accessible, inclusive and all-encompassing in the country.

"We know that when people are educated beyond high school they have higher wages, they can have family-sustaining careers and they can be successful in whatever endeavor they want to go into," Rodriguez pointed out.

She noted the state's Opportunity Scholarship, Lottery Scholarship, grants and other financial aid programs make it possible for nearly all New Mexicans to pursue higher education without having to worry about tuition and fees. In addition to recent high school graduates, the program is open to returning adult learners, part-time students and immigrants, regardless of their immigration status.

New Mexico is one of the nation's poorest states, with some of the country's lowest K-12 educational outcomes, but lawmakers have significantly increased educational funding in recent years and created the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

Rodriguez emphasized since the college scholarship program was introduced in 2022, enrollment has increased every semester.

"We're moving the levers in other areas so that New Mexicans can be successful," Rodriguez observed. "We may not see it right now, but in the future -- because of the investments, because of the policies we put in place -- you're going to see us move up in education overall."

The Lottery Scholarship continues to cover full tuition for around 10,000 students each year. Rodriguez added New Mexico had the second-best enrollment growth of any state last year and remains in the top five this year, with first-time enrollment up 10%.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Disclosure: Lumina Foundation for Education contributes to our fund for reporting on Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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