New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship

The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship provides tuition and fee assistance for students enrolled in 2-year programs, including credit-bearing certificate or associate degree programs in a public institution of higher education or Tribal College in New Mexico.


The Opportunity Scholarship is awarded during the Fall and Spring terms only.

Note: We are waiting on official guidance from NMHED for the Opportunity Scholarship for the 2022-2023 year. You can visit the New Mexico Higher Education Department website for more information. 


  • Be a resident of New Mexico. (All residency requirements for recent graduate learners must be met upon completion of high school, graduation, or receipt of a high school equivalency credential recognized by the state of New Mexico).
  • For recent graduate learners, enroll full-time (at least 12 credit hours no more than 18 credit hours for fall and spring) in a credit-bearing 2-year program. 
    • During the 16 months after graduation, a recent graduate learner may attend a public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college prior to their initial semester less than-full time without affecting future program eligibility. Once a recent graduate learner is enrolled and attends  fulltime during the 16 months after graduation, the recent graduate learner shall be considered to have commenced the initial semester and must meet the initial semester eligibility requirements
    • Can be applied in the first semester and after institutional funds for Legislative Lottery Scholarship recipients in the first semester only
  • For returning student learner, enrolled in at least six credit hours, but no more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester. 
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) beginning with the first semester receiving the scholarship 
  • Students are encouraged, but are not required, to complete a FAFSA. 
  • Degree seeking
  • Not exceeding 90 attempted credit hours for completion of an associate degree
    • The scholarship covers up to 90 credit hours for an associate degree and 160 credit hours for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Students who currently have an Associates Degree or Bachelors degree are not eligible at CNM.  

Continuing Eligibility

  • Maintains a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Maintains Consecutive enrollment and meets earned credit hour criteria


  • Recent high school graduates and returning adult learners can receive this scholarship. You may also be eligible if you are currently enrolled in good standing and otherwise meet eligibility requirements.
  • A 2-year degree is a strong investment in the future. Individuals who complete associate degrees develop competitive skills and earn higher wages than those with high school degrees.
  • The scholarship begins in the Fall 2020 semester. The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship will cover remaining tuition and fees after all other state funding has been applied. 
  • The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship will be awarded to students who meet the eligibility requirements. 

How much does the Opportunity cover?

The Opportunity Scholarship covers any gap in tuition and fees owed by a student after other forms of state aid, such as the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, are applied. If a student does not qualify for other forms of state aid, the Opportunity Scholarship can be used to cover the full cost of tuition and fees. 

Probationary Status

You can apply for probationary status if you can't meet the Opportunity Scholarship requirements because of an exceptional mitigating circumstance beyond your control. Fill out the Request for Probationary Status form, attach the required documentation, then submit to Scholarship Services for review.

  • A probation period is allowed for exceptional circumstances on a per semester basis. A leave of absence can be renewable yearly at the higher
    education institution.
  • The scholarship may be renewed two years after losing eligibility and exhausting an allowable probation period.