New Mexico is seeing tremendous economic growth as the state’s oil and gas productions are bringing in record-breaking revenues. That being the case, the state government intends to seek state legislative approval for a proposed program to offer free college education to recent New Mexico high school graduates or earners of equivalent programs.
Incumbent New Mexico State Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced plans for the free-college education program, which will be known as the “The Opportunity Scholarship.” In a podcast interview with Michel Martin of the NPR, Governor Grisham said they want to play it smart with the revenues being brought in by the oil and gas boom, by investing the funds in places where it will create a real difference. Aside from infrastructure, they also see education as another good foundation since they are aiming to make the program last for a long haul.
New Mexico has a long list of public colleges and institutions, offering 2 and 4-year courses. The Opportunity Scholarship Program” will cover only tuition, and will be available to students after all existing federal grants and state aid programs have been drawn. In order to have continuous eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship, students are required to maintain at least 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
About New Mexico’s Economic Boom from Oil and Gas Production
New Mexico owes its current economic boom to the state’s historic expansion of oil and gas production, specifically in the counties of Lea and Eddy, which is situated atop a section of the Permian Basin.
The Permian Basin, is also known as the West Texas Basin, being composed of large sedimentary deposits of natural gas, rich petroleum, and potassium located in Southeastern New Mexico and Western Texas. It is one of the most widely-studied geologic regions of the world, for having an accumulation of deepwater materials and organic-rich black sediments that develop into petroleum source rocks during geologic time intervals.
According to the latest report of the state’s Legislative Finance Committee, the general funds amassed for the 2019 Fiscal Year, has exceeded nearly $290 million of what has been forecasted. Most of which are attributed to the flow of strong revenues gained from gross receipts taxes, rents and royalties derived from oil and gas production boom.