New Mexico Highlands University is offering four-year, full scholarships for 2022 graduates from eight area high schools.

So far, West Las Vegas and Santa Rosa Consolidated school districts, and Santa Fe Schools have agreed to partner with Highlands for the program, Benito Pacheco, senior director of strategic enrollment management, said Monday. 

NMHU, which has an enrollment of 2,750, is waiting to hear from Las Vegas City Schools and Wagon Mound public school districts, Mora and Pecos Independent school districts, and Santa Fe Indian School, Benito said.

The program is for this year only. Students with at least a 3.0 grade-point average at the end of their junior year can apply. The deadline is Dec. 31.

The scholarships valued at $15,000 annually cover tuition, room and board, and will allow recipients to have an on-campus job, which at the current minimum wage, pays about $6,800 a year, Pacheco said.

 “We are a Hispanic institution and we take pride in transforming lives,” Pacheco said. “This is an opportunity to work as a partner with our regional institutions and provide our students with a  post-secondary education.”

West Superintendent Chris Gutierrez said this is a great opportunity.

“Our local kids can take advantage for tuition purposes and furthering their education,” Gutierrez said. “We need to keep our kids and give them the opportunity just as every other college around the state.”

Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Larryssa Archuleta and Mora Superintendent Marvin MacAuley could not be reached.

Highlands made the offer to schools in the Northeast Regional Education Cooperative.

“We are using our scholarship funds in a way that best serves the region,” Pacheco said. “We want to be a good regional partner. This offers the traditional underserved population access to a post-secondary education.”

Highlands is partnering with the school districts because it believes it will make it more convenient for students to apply.

“We’re trying to take out all of the bureaucracy with filling out a college application,” he said.

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