Immigrant Youth and Allies in New Mexico Celebrate College Affordability Win

Sheridan Aguirre Uncategorized

Law Will Provide Relief to At-Need Students, Including Undocumented Youth, By Allocating Additional Funds to State Need-Based Scholarship

For Immediate Release
Flaviano Graciano | | 505.305.8637
Sharon Kayne | | 505.401.8709

Santa Fe, N.M. Following weeks of pressure from immigrant youth and allies through rallies and office visits, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 127 into law last week.  The law will make changes to the already enacted College Affordability Act by increasing the need-based scholarship award amount from $1,000 to $1,500 per semester. During the legislative session, $25 million were also allocated from our state budget to the College Affordability Fund, reviving the much needed scholarship.

Since the implementation of the College Affordability Act in 2005, the state had yet to increase in the award or disbursement amount to account for rising costs for living and education. Meanwhile, tuition at New Mexico’s 4-year public universities has increased by almost 40 percent since 2008; according to data from a report published by New Mexico Voices for Children.

This legislative win is part of New Mexico Dream Team’s #EducationNotDeportation campaign. Immigrant youth and allies have worked  tirelessly alongside New Mexico Voices for Children to ensure that our students receive the help they need to attend colleges and universities  in New Mexico.

Felipe Rodriguez, #EducationNotDeportation Campaign Manager at NM Dream Team, and recent UNM graduate, said:

“Our members spent countless hours alongside NM Voices inside committee hearings and the offices of our elected officials to ensure that affected youth  had their voices heard. We wanted our elected officials to feel the urgency that our communities feel.

Strengthening our state’s need-based scholarships through bills like this one is a step in the right direction in making college affordable for immigrant, queer, brown, Black, and low-income students.”

James Jimenez, Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children, said:

“New Mexico Voices for Children was delighted to work with our allies from the Dream Team to help pass this critically important legislation. Over the past decade tuition increases and reductions in financial aid have compromised the ability of too many students to achieve their educational goals. Our state is stronger when we commit to helping all New Mexicans succeed. Many thanks to Representative Andres Romero and Senator Gay Kernan for their leadership.”

Rep. Andres Romero (D) – District 10, Sponsor of HB 127, said:

“I feel it’s important we give all New Mexican students an opportunity to improve themselves and our community through higher education without the fear of saddling these students with years of college debt.”

The New Mexico Dream Team is a  statewide network committed to create power for multigenerational, undocumented, and mixed status families through trainings and leadership development. We work to engage our community and allies in becoming leaders using an intersectional, gender, and racial justice lens—to develop and implement an organizing and advocacy infrastructure for policy change fighting to dismantle systemic oppression.

New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities.

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.