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Amended New Mexico Legislation strengthens tuition support for service members and families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Karissa Dick
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A recent amendment to Section 21-1-4.5 New Mexico Statutes 1978 in New Mexico, through House Bill 302, enacted by the New Mexico state legislature, now expands New Mexico resident tuition benefits for veterans and families of active-duty armed forces members. This new amendment directly aligns with the top priorities of Col. Michael Power, 377th Air Base Wing commander, and the 377 ABW command team at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. by enhancing the states support for military members and their families.

The amended law now states that veterans residing in New Mexico are considered in-state residents for tuition and fees purposes at all New Mexico state institutions of higher learning, if the veteran is eligible for federal veterans' education benefits under federal law. Veterans who are not New Mexico residents may use veteran's federal educational benefits at a state public post-secondary institutions to receive in-state tuition rates. The bill also allows veterans to pay in-state tuition rates for subsequent terms while enrolled in a degree or certificate program.

Spouses or children of active-duty members stationed in New Mexico can now receive in-state residency status for tuition and fees at state institutions, with certain conditions or caveats extending this status. The amended law breaks down these conditions to include details for spouses and children residing in New Mexico separately from active-duty members, residency status following an active-duty members death, receiving the in-state tuition rates if you are no longer an active-duty members spouse or child, and spouses and children of active-duty members paying in-state tuition rates for subsequent terms while enrolled in a degree or certificate program. This amendment also includes details for spouses and children of veterans who are eligible for in-state tuition provided they are eligible for federal Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 or any other federal law authorizing educational benefits for a veteran and the dependents of a veteran.

Additionally, the amendment broadens the definition of "armed forces” and “uniformed services” to include the U.S. Space Force in sections detailing programs and services that members of the armed forces are eligible for.

(To read the amended law, please visit the following: House Bill 302 .)