College isn’t cheap for New Mexico residents. The average cost of attendance for in-state students is $15,413 a year, according to College Tuition Compare. Grants and scholarships in New Mexico are sparse — only a handful are available at the state level.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get free money for school. To help pay for college, take advantage of these New Mexico grants plus a few federal ones.
How to get New Mexico grants
Grants are based on financial need, while scholarships are usually merit-based (for athletic or academic performance, for example). You can apply for both types of awards at the local, state, federal, and institutional levels.
Your eligibility for New Mexico grants starts when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will let you know how much money you’ll receive for college from the federal government and often from the state government as well.
After you’ve completed the FAFSA, you’ll get an award letter detailing your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount your family is expected to pay toward your tuition, fees, books, and other college costs. Schools use your EFC to determine how much aid you you could receive in the form of grants, loans, and work-study.
Some states, such as Illinois and New Jersey, require you to fill out additional forms along with the FAFSA. But in New Mexico, you’re considered for state grants when you complete the FAFSA. If you qualify for state aid, you’ll get details about it in your award letter.
Grants for college in New Mexico
There are two grants available through the state of New Mexico in addition to a few options from the federal government. You might be able to find college-specific grants as well, depending on the institution you choose to attend.
1. College Affordability Grant
If you don’t qualify for any other state scholarships or grants, you could be eligible for the College Affordability Grant.
This grant offers up to $1,000 per semester to eligible students. You must be a New Mexico resident who is enrolled in or planning to enroll in a New Mexico public college or university (sorry, private schoolers).
You’ll be considered for aid on an annual basis for undergraduate programs only, with full-time or part-time enrollment. Schools have different enrollment periods, so contact your institution of choice about how to apply for this grant. Also, make sure you complete the FAFSA.
2. Student Incentive Grant Program
The Student Incentive Grant Program is available to New Mexico residents attending a New Mexico public college or university. The award amount varies between $200 and $2,500 per year, depending on your need.
Aid is given on an annual basis for undergraduate programs only, with at least half-time enrollment. You’ll need to apply through your school’s financial aid office. That means the deadline varies depending on the college or university.
3. Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is one of the biggest grants in the country. Your award will be based on your financial need and EFC. You’ll need to complete a FAFSA to qualify. The earlier you complete the application, the more money you might receive based on your need.
4. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is administered by participating schools. To find it if your college offers the FSEOG, check with the financial aid office. You must complete the FAFSA to be considered, and you should apply as early as possible. FSEOG money is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and once it’s exhausted, no more grants are awarded for the rest of the year.
5. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
You might be eligible to receive the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant if you complete certain classes and agree to become a teacher after you graduate. If you don’t meet the requirements, the funds will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, which you’ll have to repay.
6. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
If your parent or guardian died in military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, you might be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. If you meet all the requirements for a Pell Grant, excluding the EFC, you might receive this service grant instead. You can receive an award equal to the maximum Pell Grant award, which can change yearly, but you’ll get only one or the other.
Apply now for New Mexico grants
Grants are worth applying for even if you don’t think you’ll get them. Not all eligible students apply for grants and scholarships, so that means a lot of free money is left on the table.
It’s important for you to take advantage of all available free money options, including New Mexico grants. Explore everything at the local, state, and federal levels. If you’re coming up short, consider private student loans, which can help make sure you’ve got enough money to pay for school.
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