New Mexico is a state that prioritizes higher education.
In 2015 New Mexico’s Higher Education Department launched Route to 66, aiming to have 66% of residents ages 25 to 64 earn a higher education credential by 2030.
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It’s clear that the state is focused on the future and is working hard to ensure its residents have access to top-notch education through a variety of excellent schools and with the help of generous financial aid programs.
Overview of Higher Education in New Mexico
In New Mexico, there are 39 higher education institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 28 are public schools, 3 are non-profit private schools, and 8 are for-profit private schools.
The NCES also looked at the tuition and fees at New Mexico’s 4-year public institutions. In-state students paid an average of $6902 per year, one of the lowest rates in the nation. Out-of-state students paid around $18,350, also among the lowest.
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Students in the western states may pay even less, thanks to New Mexico’s partnership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE’s Student Exchange Program allows residents to enroll in degree programs at any of the 16 participating states and territories for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
About Online Colleges in New Mexico
A 2018 report from the NCES found that that 19.1% of undergraduate students in New Mexico were enrolled in fully online college degree programs. Another 25% were enrolled in hybrid programs, combining both online and on-campus courses. Both are above the national average, and the numbers are continuing to rise as the state’s colleges and universities increase their online offerings.
Today, at the University of New Mexico (UNM) 42% of students take at least one online course each semester. Much like online colleges in New Jersey and online colleges in New York, the school offers more than 20 online degree programs, in a wide variety of subjects, including Business Administration, Chicana & Chicano Studies, Construction Management, Dental Hygiene, Education, Native American Studies, Technology & Training and many more.
New Mexico State University (NMSU) students can take nearly all general education requirements for bachelor’s degrees online. They can choose from 60+ programs and 500+ courses taught by faculty from across the NMSU system. Online student services include tutoring, access to library databases, financial aid, advising and admissions.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in New Mexico
In order to access federal, state and even private financial aid for college in New Mexico, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
You can access the application starting on October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college. Be sure to fill it out as soon as possible, as much of the aid is given on a first come, first served basis. As you fill out the FAFSA, you will need to include financial information for yourself as well as your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”).
Your answers will be used to determine how much and what type of aid you qualify for. The best type of financial aid is through grants and scholarships, which do not have to be repaid. New Mexico has tremendous financial aid offerings. The New Mexico Higher Education Department offers the following programs:
- Legislative Lottery Scholarship Program —For high school graduates enrolled full-time at a public college or university; Must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher; Amount varies by institution
- New Mexico Scholars —For students who graduated in the top 5% of their class or received a score of 35 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT; Family income may not exceed $60,000 per year; Award covers tuition, books and fees
- Athletic Scholarship —For athletes at participating schools; Qualifications vary by institution; Amount covers tuition and fees
- Opportunity Scholarship – For students 18 or older who are enrolled in a 2-year program; Must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Competitive Scholarship —For out-of-state, non-US citizen students who have demonstrated high academic achievement in high school; Amount varies by institution
- Graduate Scholarship —For underrepresented groups and students with significant financial need; Must agree to serve in an unpaid internship for 10 hours per week; Up to $7200 per year
- Fire Fighters and Peace Officers Survivors Scholarship —For the spouse or child of fire fighters and peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty; Amount covers tuition, room and board
- Wartime and Vietnam Veterans Scholarship —For military war veterans; Amount covers tuition, books and fees
- Grow Your Own Teachers Scholarship —For educational assistants who have worked in a New Mexico public school for at least two years and wish to pursue a bachelor’s in education; Must demonstrate financial need; Up to $6000 per year
- Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship —For individual who is enrolled at least half-time in a teacher preparation program at an eligible institution and is pursuing a teaching degree; Must demonstrate financial need; Up to $6000 per year
- Student Incentive Grant Program —For high school graduates attending a public or tribal college; Must demonstrate financial need; $200-$2500 per year
- College Affordability Grant —For high school graduates attending a public or tribal college; Must demonstrate financial need; Up to $1500 per semester
Many of New Mexico’s colleges and universities offer additional need-based aid programs to their students. To find out how to apply for these, simply contact the financial aid office at the school or schools you’re interested in.
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You can also apply for private scholarships, which may be awarded based on need, merit, or other factors such as race, religion, region, athletic or artistic abilities, talents, intended major, etc. Here are some scholarships available to New Mexico residents:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship Amount|
|505 Southwestern New Mexico True Scholars||$5000|
|Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque Scholarship Program||$1000 (1-4)|
|New Mexico Manufactured Housing Association Scholarship Fund||Up to $1000 (1 or 2)|
|The Pam Schneider Memorial Scholarship||Up to $1400 (1 or 2)|
To find more scholarships you can apply for, check out scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com. Just enter some basic demographic information and you will be matched up with dozens of scholarship opportunities!
List of Online Colleges in New Mexico
|Online Colleges in New Mexico||Annual Tuition||Application Fee|
|Eastern New Mexico University||$5,618||$0|
|New Mexico State University||$6,094||$20|
|Pima Medical Institute||$12,380||$0|
|San Juan College||$1,474||$0|
|University of New Mexico||$7,340||$20|
|University of the Southwest||$15,456||$0|
For postsecondary students in New Mexico, opportunities abound. The southwestern state is committed to improving its education system, so it can provide top-quality colleges and universities, plenty of online learning opportunities, and make higher education accessible to everyone.