SENATE BILL 140
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2022
Elizabeth "Liz” Stefanics and Joy Garratt
RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION; ENACTING THE OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP ACT; AMENDING, REPEALING AND ENACTING SECTIONS OF THE NMSA 1978; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--Sections 1 through 8 of this act may be cited as the "Opportunity Scholarship Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Opportunity Scholarship Act:
A. "community college" means a branch community college of a four-year state educational institution, a two-year state educational institution or a community college or technical and vocational institute established pursuant to Chapter 21, Article 13 or 16 NMSA 1978;
B. "department" means the higher education department;
C. "eligible student" means a New Mexico resident who is enrolled or enrolling at least half-time in a public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college at any time later than ninety days following high school graduation or the award of a high school equivalency credential;
D. "public post-secondary educational institution" means a four-year state educational institution or a community college;
E. "scholarship" means an opportunity scholarship;
F. "state educational institution" means an institution of higher education enumerated in Article 12, Section 11 of the constitution of New Mexico; and
G. "tribal college" means a tribally, federally or congressionally chartered post-secondary educational institution located in New Mexico that is accredited by the higher learning commission.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] CONDITIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY.--A scholarship may be awarded to an eligible student who:
A. has not earned a baccalaureate degree at the time the scholarship is awarded;
B. is enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours per semester;
C. maintains a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; and
D. has complied with other rules promulgated by the department to carry out the provisions of the Opportunity Scholarship Act.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] SCHOLARSHIP AUTHORIZED--ADMINISTRATION.--
A. The department shall administer the Opportunity Scholarship Act and shall promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of that act.
B. Scholarships shall be awarded to qualified eligible students in an amount not to exceed one hundred percent of tuition and fees after all other state financial aid has been applied. Qualifications shall be determined by rule of the department.
C. Prior to June 1 of each year, based on the amount appropriated by the legislature from the opportunity scholarship fund and on the projected enrollment at all public post-secondary educational institutions and tribal colleges, the department shall:
(1) determine the total amount of money available for all scholarships for eligible students;
(2) determine the award amount for public post-secondary educational institutions and tribal colleges; and
(3) notify all public post-secondary educational institutions and tribal colleges of the determinations made pursuant to Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.
D. In determining distribution and award amounts for the scholarships, the department shall:
(1) distribute to all public post-secondary educational institutions and tribal colleges an amount not to exceed the remaining balance in the opportunity scholarship fund; and
(2) subject to the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this subsection, distribute to each public post-secondary educational institution and tribal college an amount based on the projected enrollment at each four-year public post-secondary educational institution and tribal college.
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] DURATION OF SCHOLARSHIP AUTHORIZED.--Each scholarship is for a period of one semester. A scholarship may be renewed, provided the eligible student continues to meet the conditions of eligibility, until the eligible student graduates from a four-year public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college.
SECTION 6. [NEW MATERIAL] TERMINATION OF SCHOLARSHIP AUTHORIZED.--A scholarship is terminated upon occurrence of:
A. withdrawal of the eligible student from the public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college or failure to remain as at least a half-time student;
B. failure of the eligible student to achieve satisfactory academic progress set by the public post-secondary educational institution or tribal college; or
C. substantial noncompliance by the eligible student with the Opportunity Scholarship Act or the rules promulgated pursuant to that act.
SECTION 7. [NEW MATERIAL] FUND CREATED.--The "opportunity scholarship fund" is created as a nonreverting fund in the state treasury, consisting of income from investment of the fund and any specified distributions, appropriations, gifts, grants and donations to the fund. Money in the fund is appropriated to the department for scholarship awards as provided in the Opportunity Scholarship Act. Expenditures from the fund shall be by warrant of the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of higher education or the secretary's authorized representative.
SECTION 8. [NEW MATERIAL] DEPARTMENT RULEMAKING AND REPORTING.--
A. The department shall promulgate rules setting forth explicit criteria in accordance with the Opportunity Scholarship Act for:
(1) student qualification and continuing eligibility;
(2) calculating the total amount of money necessary to pay for opportunity scholarships at each eligible institution pursuant to Section 4 of the Opportunity Scholarship Act and guidelines for the administration of the Opportunity Scholarship Act; and
(3) requirements for the memoranda of understanding regarding institution eligibility to participate in the opportunity scholarship program.
B. The department shall report by November 1 of each year to the legislative finance committee and the department of finance and administration on the:
(1) status of the opportunity scholarship fund; and
(2) Opportunity Scholarship Act participation data aggregated for each eligible institution to show the:
(a) number of eligible students who received scholarships in the prior academic year;
(b) total number of students enrolled in eligible institutions in the prior academic year; and
(c) number of eligible students who graduated with a degree and, for each eligible student, the number of consecutive semesters and nonconsecutive semesters attended prior to graduation.
SECTION 9. Section 6-24-24 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1995, Chapter 155, Section 24, as amended) is amended to read:
"6-24-24. DISPOSITION OF REVENUE.--
A. As nearly as practical, an amount equal to at least fifty percent of the gross annual revenue from the sale of lottery tickets shall be returned to the public in the form of lottery prizes.
B. No later than the last business day of each month, the authority shall transmit at least [twenty-seven percent of the gross revenue of the previous month until December 31, 2008 and at least] thirty percent of the gross revenue of the previous month [thereafter] to the state treasurer, who shall deposit it in the [lottery tuition] opportunity scholarship fund.
C. Operating expenses of the lottery include all costs incurred in the operation and administration of the lottery and all costs resulting from any contracts entered into for the purchase or lease of goods or services required by the lottery, including the costs of supplies, materials, tickets, independent audit services, independent studies, data transmission, advertising, promotion, incentives, public relations, communications, commissions paid to lottery retailers, printing, distribution of tickets, purchases of annuities or investments to be used to pay future installments of winning lottery tickets, debt service and payment of any revenue bonds issued, contingency reserves, transfers to the reserve fund and any other necessary costs incurred in carrying out the provisions of the New Mexico Lottery Act."
SECTION 10. TEMPORARY PROVISION.--Upon the effective date of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, all balances of the legislative endowment scholarship fund, college affordability endowment fund and lottery tuition fund shall be transferred to the opportunity scholarship fund.
SECTION 11. APPROPRIATION.--Eighty-five million five hundred thirty-six thousand five hundred dollars ($85,536,500) is appropriated from the general fund to the opportunity scholarship fund for expenditure in fiscal year 2023 and subsequent fiscal years to fund scholarships pursuant to the Opportunity Scholarship Act and to execute the provisions of that act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund.
SECTION 12. REPEAL.--Sections 21-21J-1 through 21-21J-8, 21-21L-1 through 21-21L-8 and 21-21N-1 through 21-21N-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1995, Chapter 35, Sections 1 through 8, Laws 2005, Chapter 192, Sections 1 through 8, Laws 2014, Chapter 80, Sections 1 through 4, Laws 1995, Chapter 155, Section 23, Laws 2014, Chapter 80, Section 6 and Laws 2015, Chapter 84, Section 2, as amended) are repealed.
SECTION 13. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2022.
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