Sept. 26 Smartboard

Sep. 26—New Mexico Highlands University awarded $20.5 million in state endowment funds

New Mexico Highlands University has been awarded with a $20.5 million endowment from the New Mexico Higher Education Department to bolster its education, social work, and nursing degree programs.

The department hopes the funds will help address worker shortages in these fields and address the state's specific cultural, linguistic and social needs.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Roxanne Gonzales said the funds will allow the university to hire more faculty and staff to support program expansion and to serve more students.

According to an announcement published by the university, its School of Education received $10 million, the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work received $8 million and the nursing department was awarded $2.5 million.

According to the Legislative Finance Committee's September newsletter, the Higher Education Department has distributed all but about $20 million of the $130 million appropriated for faculty endowments, including $50 million for teaching teaching programs and $30 million for nursing programs. Social work education programs have received $30.5 million of their $50 million endowment appropriation. The newsletter says committee staff is working with the state's colleges to identify the number of additional faculty and students the endowments will fund.

State to deliver $89 million in food assistance to students

Over 227,000 New Mexico students will receive a one-time payment of $391 to help cover to help cover the costs of meals during the summer.

A little more than $89 million in Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer funds will be issued to students who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program or attended a Community Eligible Provision school that received free meals as of June 30, 2022.

Home visit expansion stalled

Expansions to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department's home visit program are stalled, as the state struggles with efforts to take advantage of Medicaid funding.

A report presented to the state Legislative Finance Committee in August indicates the state could draw $45 million in federal funds to support the home visit program and other similar initiatives.

This could allow the program to potentially reach three times as many families as are now being served. Currently, there are only $15 million in state funds available.