The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship will cover up to 100% of tuition and required fees and up to $50 per credit hour for course-specific fees. There is no application required for the Opportunity Scholarship. If you meet the eligibility criteria, our scholarship team will work with you to award the scholarship.

Please refer to the guidelines below, published and enforced by the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

Students with disabilities may require special accommodations, so they are encouraged to consult with NMSU's Disability Access Services, or the representative office of their campus, on making accommodations as deemed reasonable and appropriate based on the student's disability needs. Referrals and any sufficient documentation shall be received within 30 days of the start of the student’s first semester.


  • New Mexico resident
  • First-time degree-seeking student which means the student must not have a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree.
  • Students are encouraged, but not required, to complete a FAFSA.
  • Must have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher
  • The scholarship covers up to 90 attempted credit hours for an associate's degree and 160 attempted credit hours for a bachelor’s degree. Non-credit programs are not eligible.

For recent high school graduate learners:

  • Must be a full-time student (15 credit hours at the main campus, and 12 credit hours at a branch campus), but not enrolled in more than 18 credit hours for the fall and spring semesters.
  • Must have graduated from a public or accredited private New Mexico high school or received a high school equivalency credential while maintaining residency in New Mexico.
  • During the 16 months after high school 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, as long as a 2.5 GPA is maintained.
  • Once a recent graduate learner is enrolled and attends full-time 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.

For returning college learners:

  • Must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours, but not more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older and does not meet the definition of a recent graduate learner.
  • Must have a high school diploma or have received a high school equivalency credential
  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale at an eligible institution
  • Summer aid may be available for qualified students who enroll in no less than three credit hours, but not more than nine credit hours in the summer semester. Please be advised funding is limited and there is no guarantee for summer scholarship aid.


A student’s continuing eligibility shall be determined on a semester basis. An opportunity scholarship may be renewed for a student who meets the following eligibility criteria:

  • Maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or greater
  • Maintain consecutive enrollment.
  • Recent high school graduates: Must enroll and complete 15 credit hours main campus, or 12 credit hours at a community college. Students cannot exceed enrollment in more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester.
  • A returning student: Must be enrolled and complete at least 6 credit hours, but not more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester. 
  • Does not exceed the allowable timeframe of 90 credit hours for an associate's degree, or 160 credit hours for a bachelor's degree. 

Appeal Process

If renewal requirements for the Opportunity Scholarship are not met, the student has the right to appeal the loss of eligibility for the scholarship because of an exceptional mitigating circumstance beyond their control.

  • If an appeal is submitted AND approved, the student will be put on probation for the following semester of enrollment. During the probationary semester, the student will be required to meet renewal criteria. If renewal requirements are met during this semester, Opportunity aid will be reinstated for the next semester of enrollment. If renewal requirements are not met, the student will lose funding eligibility for future terms of enrollment. Students may receive funds during this probationary period.
  • If an appeal is submitted AND denied, the student will lose eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship.
  • The scholarship may be renewed two years after losing eligibility and exhausting an allowable probation period.
  • If a probationary appeal is not granted, reinstatement of Opportunity can be petitioned no sooner than two years following the end of the semester when eligibility was lost.
  • The scholarship cannot be reinstated for exceeding the allowable time frame of 90 credit hours for an associate's degree, or 160 credit hours for a bachelor's degree. 

To submit an appeal, fill out the Financial Aid Appeal Form. Please be advised, that the appeal form requires a typed document explaining the circumstance(s) that prevented you from maintaining the renewal requirements and any additional documentation that supports your explanation. Please read all instructions on the form in order to submit the appeal correctly.