The Davis New Mexico Scholarship program for several years has provided New Mexico high school graduates an opportunity to be the first in their family to go to college.
It will continue for at least six more years after philanthropist Andrew Davis granted up to $60 million to support the program over that span, the program announced Monday.
More than 100 students have received full-ride scholarships to six colleges around the country that partner with the program, including the University of Portland, Lawrence University, Southwestern University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Denver and St. Edward’s University.
The students also receive academic, emotional and family support to provide guidance through graduation.
The scholarship has grown to encompass students from throughout Northern New Mexico.
The grant will enable the scholarship to support 50 students each year for the next four years. Program director Sam Ritter said the overall grant amount will support all 200 students for the four-year duration of their college or university.
“We set out to prove that with the right resources and support, dedicated students from New Mexico can compete with their peers nationwide,” Davis said in a news release. “Giving New Mexican students the opportunity to grow and learn alongside students from around the country will ultimately benefit every New Mexican.”
Santa Fe High Principal Carl Marano said the program has been a blessing to many students who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to such expensive and distinguished schools.
“It has been so meaningful for our our school and it is exciting to see it continue,” Marano said. “It not only has made an impact for our students, but for Capital students, too.”
The Davis New Mexico Scholarship program started as an extension of Breakthrough Santa Fe, a college preparatory program that helped low-income and first-generation Santa Fe students achieve their dreams of going to college. It officially became a full-ride scholarship program in 2014, offering five students each year the opportunity to go to out-of-state colleges.
Since then, more than 150 students have gone to college and over $10 million in scholarship funds have been distributed. The scholarship boasts a four-year graduation rate of 93 percent for its recipients, according to the Center for First Generation Student Success.
“The drive of our students to earn a degree is what keeps the scholarship going strong,” Ritter said.