NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s a bold program in New Mexico that’s made national headlines over the last few years as the state’s expanded the effort to provide free higher education. As of 2022, most New Mexicans are now eligible to earn a free college degree through the state’s evolving “Opportunity Scholarship.”

But how exactly does New Mexico’s “free college” program work? Is it truly free? Who’s eligible? What kind of degrees can you earn for free? And what kind of strings might be attached? We’re tackling those questions and more on this week’s episode of the New Mexico News Podcast.

KRQE News 13 Digital Anchor Chris McKee and Investigative Reporter Gabrielle Burkhart speak with Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez, the leader of New Mexico’s Department of Higher Education. Rodriguez gives a rundown on the ins and outs of the Opportunity Scholarship.

In the second half of the episode, a Republican lawmaker who supported the program, Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) joins the conversation to discuss why he supported the continued expansion of the scholarship program.

Download new episodes of the New Mexico News Podcast every Tuesday. Episodes are available on the most popular platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcherand Podbean among others.

To find the show on your favorite podcast player, type “KRQE News” or “New Mexico News Podcast” into the search feature. Use the links above to find the podcast on each respective service, or listen to the audio player below.

If you have a question, comment, or suggestion for the podcast, let us know! Email the hosts at chris.mckee@krqe.com or gabrielle.burkhart@krqe.com.