The 54th New Mexican legislature is underway in Santa Fe, and the University of New Mexico students will take the northern trek to the Roundhouse on Jan. 27 to discuss all things Lobo for the annual UNM Day. 

During UNM Day, representatives for the University will lobby, speak and table advocating for UNM related initiatives. UNM Day traditionally has had a focus on changes to the Lottery Scholarship — which funds around 60 to 75% of eligible students’ tuition. 

Unlike years past, students will not just be fighting for a portion of their tuition to be covered, but rather all of it. Rather, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's proposed “Opportunity Scholarship” would nearly make college free for eligible state residents, as previously reported by the Daily Lobo



Though the details are blurry, the qualifications for the Opportunity Scholarship would mirror that of the Lottery Scholarship. What is predicted to be different — aside from the funding itself — are the strings attached to the scholarship for New Mexican universities. 

A proposed Memorandum of Understanding would limit how much money universities could raise tuition upon implementation of the scholarship, among other requirements. If passed, New Mexico would become the second state to have free higher education. 

For employed Lobos, HB 82 would affect pay by increasing the minimum wage rate annually proportionate to the cost of living starting in 2025 and would repeal Section 50-4-23 NMSA 1978, which allows reduced minimum wage for people with disabilities. An average one-bedroom apartment in the Albuquerque metro is about $711 a month, according to BestPlaces cost of living calculator. 

Another timely UNM related bill (SB 56) would provide funding for “mental and behavioral health services” for student-athletes. This comes in light of the death of UNM student and football player Nahje Flowers last fall for mental health-related causes. 

The Daily Lobo reached out to Associated Students of UNM Governmental Affairs Director Adrian Schmitt for comment on ASUNM’s plan for the event. However, Schmitt did not respond to the Daily Lobo’s request for comment. 

Alyssa Martinez is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @amart447