PRESS RELEASE - January 10, 2005
Governor Bill Richardson details higher education agenda
Governor vows more accountability, commitment to high-wage jobs
SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson highlighted his proposals for revamping New Mexico’s higher education system to better prepare all New Mexicans to succeed in college.
Governor Richardson wants to take advantage of the large surplus in the state’s lottery-funded scholarship to expand opportunities to more students and make college more affordable for more new Mexicans -- in a fiscally responsible way. The Governor also wants to create a Secretary of Higher Education who will hold universities accountable for graduating more students and tying higher education to the Governor’s efforts to create high-wage jobs.
“I’m working with legislators to make this package even better - starting with expanding access to the lottery-funded scholarship program,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “We all want the same thing: Make college more affordable through scholarships, widen access to financial assistance and hold our universities more accountable.”
Governor Richardson is proposing a $703 million budget for higher education, which includes a $31.6 million increase to pay for enrollment growth, and a 3.5-percent salary increases for faculty -- helping universities to recruit and retain high-quality faculty.
The Governor is proposing the following:
1. Affordability through lottery scholarship
· Expand eligibility - by widening the circle of access to include Native American students if they attend an accredited tribal college in New Mexico.
· Federal tax credits - By setting the Lottery Scholarship at a flat dollar amount, and directly depositing the amount in the student’s account at the institution, families are able to claim the federal Hope or Lifetime College Credits.
· Allow eligibility for students at non-profit, accredited, private New Mexico colleges, such as College of Santa Fe, St. Johns and College of the Southwest. If the Lottery Scholarship is set at a flat dollar amount by type of institution, those who attend one of the state’s accredited private institutions should be eligible to receive the aid.
2. Widen access to financial assistance
· $1.1 million from the lottery scholarship surplus to get the program started and increase access to college scholarships next year.
3. Holding universities accountable
· Increase graduation rates by linking state funding for higher
education to graduation rates, and not just enrollment.