New Mexico to become first state to require students apply to college


Under a new bill making its way through New Mexico's state legislature, students in the state would be required to apply to college or commit to some post-graduation plan in order to graduate from high school.

In addition to applying to college, students may enlist in the military, or enroll in an internship or apprenticeship. The students would have to file their plan with the principal and get approval from school guidance counselors and their parents.

If approved, the requirement would go into effect for students entering 11th grade starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

"Requiring students to do that would be unique in the nation; no other state in the nation has done that," Jennifer Zinth told CNN. Zinth is the director of high school and STEM for the Education Commission of the States, an education policy think tank in Colorado.

House GOP floor leader Nate Gentry of Albuquerque said House Bill 23 would most likely lead to an increase in students pursuing education following high school graduation. At 71 percent, the state has the second-worst high school graduation rate in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Both Zinth and Gentry, however, acknowledge the potential financial burden the requirement could have on students, as some colleges charge an application fee (for example, the University of New Mexico charges a $25 application fee).

In an effort to combat this issue, Gentry, who is sponsoring the bill, would like to address the possibility of waiving the fees for in-state institutions.

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