SENATE BILL 151
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION; AMENDING AND ENACTING SECTIONS OF THE GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP ACT; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 21-21G-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1988, Chapter 111, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-21G-3. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Graduate Scholarship Act:
A. "academic year" means any consecutive period of two semesters [three quarters] or other comparable units [commencing with the fall term each year];
B. "award recipient" means a student awarded a graduate scholarship;
C. "department" means the higher education department;
D. "eligible institution" means any graduate-degree-granting New Mexico state university accredited by the [north central association of colleges and secondary schools] higher learning commission;
E. "graduate and professional field" means any program of study intended to result in a master's or doctoral degree, excluding [the degree] degrees in medicine, law and nursing; and
F. "groups underrepresented in graduate education" means women, minorities, persons with a visual impairment or other physical disability and other groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in the specific area of graduate study or profession for which the scholarship is awarded."
SECTION 2. Section 21-21G-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1988, Chapter 111, Section 5, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-21G-5. CONDITIONS FOR FIRST-YEAR ELIGIBILITY.-- Priority will be given to [New Mexico students from those groups with the most severe underrepresentation and] students who are New Mexico residents with the greatest financial need and students from those groups underrepresented in graduate education. A scholarship may be awarded to an individual who:
A. [is a citizen of the United States or who has a permanent resident visa] has earned a bachelor's degree from an eligible institution and maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale or who holds a paid position supporting faculty teaching or research activities;
B. has met the admission requirements, [and] is accepted for enrollment [as a full-time student in an underrepresented] and enrolls in at least six credit hours in a graduate or professional field of study, as determined by the institution; and
C. has complied with all the rules [and regulations] adopted by the [commission] department for award of the scholarship and the provisions regarding the administration of state graduate scholarships adopted pursuant to the Graduate Scholarship Act [and
D. agrees to serve in an unpaid internship or assistantship at the eligible institution, a government agency or private industry approved by his major department for ten hours per week during the academic year]."
SECTION 3. Section 21-21G-6 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1988, Chapter 111, Section 6, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-21G-6. CONDITIONS FOR CONTINUING ELIGIBILITY.--
A. Except as provided in Subsection B of this section, a scholarship may be reawarded to a student who:
[A.] (1) has been an award recipient of a New Mexico graduate scholarship the previous year;
[B.] (2) remains in good academic standing as determined by the institution and maintains a grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale; and
[C.] (3) is enrolled [as a full-time graduate student as determined by the institution] in at least six credit hours in a graduate or professional field of study.
[D. is pursuing the second year of a master's degree or the second or third year of a doctoral degree; and
E. agrees to serve in an unpaid internship or assistantship at the eligible institution, a government agency or private industry approved by his major department for ten hours per week during the academic year.]
B. A graduate scholarship shall not be granted on behalf of an award recipient who has received a professional or graduate degree or has received the graduate scholarship four times."
SECTION 4. Section 21-21G-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1988, Chapter 111, Section 7, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-21G-7. AMOUNT OF SCHOLARSHIPS.--[Scholarship awards shall be for seven thousand two hundred dollars ($7,200) per year to be disbursed in equal installments over the period of an academic year.] Scholarship award amounts shall not exceed one hundred percent of tuition and fees for the graduate or professional program at the eligible institution."
SECTION 5. Section 21-21G-10 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1988, Chapter 111, Section 10, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-21G-10. TERMINATION OF SCHOLARSHIPS.--A scholarship is terminated upon the occurrence of:
A. withdrawal from the institution by the award recipient or failure to reenroll for consecutive academic years [or failure to be a full-time graduate student]; or
B. substantial noncompliance by the award recipient with the Graduate Scholarship Act or the rules [regulations] or procedures promulgated by the [commission] department."
SECTION 6. A new section of the Graduate Scholarship Act, Section 21-21G-12 NMSA 1978, is enacted to read:
"21-21G-12. [NEW MATERIAL] GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP CONTRACTS AND TERMS.--
A. A state graduate scholarship shall be evidenced by a contract between the award recipient and the department and shall be signed by the award recipient and an authorized representative of the department.
B. The contract shall provide that, in consideration for the department's payment of a state graduate scholarship, the award recipient shall be employed in New Mexico in the field in which the award recipient received a graduate degree for a minimum of one year.
C. Scholarship funds received by an award recipient who fails to complete the contract terms shall be converted to a loan with an applied annual interest rate equal to the treasury note rate in existence at the time the contract is entered into plus two percent. The loan shall become due to the department on behalf of the state immediately upon the award recipient's termination or breach of the contract.
D. The department is vested with full and complete authority and power to sue in its own name for any balance due it and the state from an award recipient violating the terms of a contract under the Graduate Scholarship Act."
SECTION 7. APPROPRIATION.--Five million dollars ($5,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the higher education department for expenditure in fiscal year 2024 to fund the Graduate Scholarship Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2024 shall revert to the general fund.
SECTION 8. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2023.
- 6 -