If you’re looking to attend one of the online colleges in New Mexico, you may be happy to hear that the state prioritizes higher education.
New Mexico’s Higher Education Department launched the Route to 66 program, which aims to have 66% of residents ages 25 to 64 earn a higher education credential by 2030.
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The state’s commitment to this goal demonstrates its focus on the future. It 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.
Online Colleges in New Mexico
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), approximately 34% of students in New Mexico are enrolled in fully online college degree programs. Almost another 33% are enrolled in hybrid programs, which combine both online and on-campus courses.
These figures are above the national average, and the numbers are continuing to rise as the state’s colleges and universities increase their online offerings.
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Within the state of New Mexico, there are numerous degree programs and courses available online. Online student services available include tutoring, access to library databases, financial aid, advising, and admissions.
Common Online Degrees in NM
Online colleges and universities in New Mexico can often be a great alternative to on-campus programs if you’re looking for a more flexible learning environment to earn your degree. These are some common degrees offered by New Mexico online colleges and what they typically entail:
- Business Administration: Earning this degree can give you the opportunity to learn key business concepts and principles and gain knowledge of business operations and management strategies.
- Criminal Justice: This degree includes coursework on the criminal justice system and the responsibilities of law enforcement and the courts and explores psychology, sociology, and public administration topics.
- Marketing: A marketing degree can introduce you to brand awareness, market research, analysis of consumer behavior, and strategic marketing strategies to help a business grow.
- Psychology: Those interested in studying the human mind and behaviors may seek an undergraduate degree in psychology to prepare for a graduate program or pursue employment in human resources, marketing, childcare, or similar fields.
- Early Childhood Education: This program typically includes introductory coursework in teaching methods, early childhood development, and classroom management to prepare for a career in education or similar fields related to early childhood care.
These are just a few examples of possible degree programs offered online. Many more may be available depending on the institution.
Overview of Higher Education in New Mexico
In New Mexico, there are 35 higher education institutions, according to the NCES. Of those, 28 are public schools, 3 are non-profit private schools, and 4 are for-profit private schools.
The NCES also reports that the average cost of tuition and fees at New Mexico’s 4 year public institutions is $7,393 per year for in-state students, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation. Out-of-state students pay on average $21,645, which is also much lower than the national rate.
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Those 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 qualifying 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.
Employment Outlook for College Graduates in New Mexico
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 818,800 professionals are employed in New Mexico. The annual median wage for all occupations combined is $39,920.
Areas with some of the highest levels of employment are office and administrative support, food preparation and serving, sales, transportation and material moving, and healthcare support.
Entry-level professions with some of the largest numbers of employees include registered nurses, general and operations managers, and bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. These positions typically require some postsecondary education or a bachelor’s degree .
Trade, transportation, and utilities, professional and business services, education and health services, and government are top industries in terms of highest levels of employment as well.
Careers & Salaries in New Mexico
According to the New Mexico Economic Development Department, target industries in the state include aerospace, film and television, intelligent manufacturing, outdoor recreation, and biosciences.
Earning a degree may open up more job opportunities that require postsecondary education for entry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the annual median salaries for some careers in New Mexico:
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||$136,510|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||$81,660|
|Business Operations Specialists||$72,180|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$67,540|
|Training and Development Specialists||$62,340|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||$51,130|
|Health Education Specialists||$48,880|
|Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education||$28,250|
The occupations listed typically require some postsecondary education or a bachelor’s degree for entry. These are just some examples of the jobs available in New Mexico. There are many other career paths you may want to consider and explore.
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Job availability and salaries can widely vary depending on the specific occupation, where you live, and your level of education and work experience.
New Mexico Colleges Online Admissions Requirements
Admissions requirements for undergraduate programs can differ between schools, but these are some common requirements:
- High school diploma or GED
- Application form and fee
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
Official high school transcripts are usually requested when submitting a college application. Schools may ask you to submit SAT or ACT scores to review your strengths in different subject areas, but some may not require them for admission.
Colleges and universities typically require an application fee to submit an application, but sometimes schools offer the opportunity to waive the fee.
NM Online Colleges Accreditation
Colleges, universities, and educational programs can seek accreditation to assure enrollees that they meet national education quality standards. Recognized regional accrediting organizations conduct an extensive review of an institution’s student services, programs, and other components to determine accreditation.
The US Department of Education provides a list of accredited postsecondary institutions, accrediting agencies, and additional information about the accreditation process.
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Regional accreditation can impact financial aid eligibility and credit transferability. Many schools only accept credit transfers from regionally accredited institutions. Employers and graduate admissions offices may also consider the accreditation status of an institution when reviewing applicants.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in New Mexico
If you’re looking to earn one of the many New Mexico online degrees available, you may fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your answers will be used to determine how much and what type of aid you qualify for.
New Mexico has tremendous financial aid offerings. The New Mexico Higher Education Department offers the following programs that may be applied to:
- Legislative Lottery Scholarship Program: This program is for high school graduates enrolled full-time at a public college or university who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The amount varies by institution.
- New Mexico Scholars: This is for those who graduated in the top 5% of their class or received a score of 35 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT and whose family income does not exceed $60,000 per year. The award covers tuition, books, and fees.
- Fire Fighters and Peace Officers Survivors Scholarship: This scholarship is for the spouse or child of firefighters and peace officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The amount covers tuition, room, and board.
- Wartime and Vietnam Veterans Scholarship: This is for military war veterans. The amount covers tuition, books, and fees.
- Grow Your Own Teachers Scholarship: This program is 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 and who also demonstrate a financial need. The award is up to $6,000 per year.
- Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship: This program is for individuals who are enrolled at least half-time in a teacher preparation program at an eligible institution and are pursuing a teaching degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and may be awarded up to $6,000 per year.
- College Affordability Grant: This grant program is for high school graduates attending a public or tribal college and demonstrating a financial need. The award is up to $1,500 per semester.
Many of New Mexico’s colleges and universities offer additional need-based aid programs. To learn more about these programs, you can contact the financial aid office at the school you’re interested in.
You can also apply for private scholarships. Here are some scholarships available to New Mexico residents:
- 505 Southwestern New Mexico True Scholars: $5,000
- Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque Scholarship Program: $1,000
- New Mexico Manufactured Housing Association Scholarship Fund: Up to $1,000
- The Pam Schneider Memorial Scholarship: Up to $1,400
It can also be helpful to reach out to your chosen school’s admissions office to see if they know of any exclusive scholarships.
New Mexico Online Education Resources
Online education resources that can help you gain more information about financial aid, employment, and New Mexico colleges include:
- New Mexico Higher Education Department: This site provides helpful information on financial aid, New Mexico colleges and universities online, residency requirements, and college preparation.
- New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation: This organization provides information on scholarships, how to prepare a FAFSA, loan forgiveness, work-study programs, and college and career planning.
- Albuquerque Community Foundation: This is an online resource hub for various scholarship programs and grant opportunities.
Utilizing these resources can help you gain valuable information to make college and career planning easier.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in New Mexico?
Tuition rates and total cost of attendance can vary depending on the school and program of study. Online programs are typically cheaper than in-person programs, but some distance learning fees may apply.
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Out-of-state tuition rates may be higher for those who don’t qualify for a state reciprocity program. Public colleges and universities usually have cheaper tuition rates compared to private institutions.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average out-of-state cost of attendance for New Mexico 4 year public colleges is $21,645. The average cost of attendance for in-state students is $17,113.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Tuition breaks help out-of-state colleges reduce the cost of tuition, which is typically higher compared to in-state tuition rates. State reciprocity programs are one way you may reduce your cost of tuition.
States and postsecondary institutions that participate in state reciprocity programs can lower out-of-state tuition rates for eligible students by exchanging instructional materials and resources.
New Mexico is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which also includes other Western states.
The WICHE offers the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program, which allows eligible out-of-state students to attend a participating institution at no more than 150% of the school’s in-state tuition rate.
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) is available to eligible graduates who’ve been accepted into a participating institution.
What Jobs Are in High Demand in New Mexico?
The chances of gaining employment might be greater for high demand jobs. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, high demand jobs that typically require some postsecondary education or a bachelor’s degree include:
- General and operations managers
- Registered nurses
- Medical assistants
- Management analysts
Medical assistants have a much faster than average job growth on the national level compared to all other occupations, according to the BLS. Home health and personal care aides are expected to have some of the highest new job openings in the state.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in New Mexico?
Some of the highest paying jobs in New Mexico are in the field of healthcare and typically require medical degrees. According to the BLS, some of the highest paying jobs in the state that typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry include:
- Architectural and Engineering Managers: $175,680
- Advertising and Promotions Managers: $136,510
- Chemical Engineers: $133,580
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: $126,730
These are average annual salaries. The exact salary you can earn will depend on a number of factors, including your level of work experience and education, location, and industry or employer.
List of Online Colleges in New Mexico
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
All students enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University are eligible to earn an online degree. Most online programs don’t require any campus visits. ENMU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in over 30 programs.
Undergraduate students planning to seek a master’s may enroll in an accelerated online program and begin master’s courses their senior year.
Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
New Mexico Highlands University offers several online degrees for students who have other work and family commitments. Most programs may be completed entirely online.
NMHU offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees that can be earned online. Many courses are available in an 8 week, accelerated format. Fields of study offered include business administration, nursing, and organizational leadership in public safety.
Highlands University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
U.S. News & World Report ranked New Mexico State University among the Best Online Programs in the country. NMSU offers over 70 online degree and certificate programs. Most programs are fully online. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online.
Many courses are offered in an 8 week, accelerated format. Areas of study offered include psychology and electrical engineering.
New Mexico State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
New Mexico Tech offers 11 graduate and doctoral degree programs that can be completed online. All programs are fully online, and most classes are synchronous with live lectures and required participation. Courses follow a traditional semester schedule.
Fields of study offered include computer science and engineering, hydrology, materials and metallurgical engineering, and science for teachers.
New Mexico Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of New Mexico is Carnegie classified as an R1 research school. UNM offers online degree programs designed for students who need flexibility in their schedules.
Many programs are fully online, while some are offered in a hybrid format. Courses follow either semester or half-term schedules. Fields of study offered include economics, intercultural communication, and space systems engineering.
The University of New Mexico is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of the Southwest offers entirely online undergraduate degree programs in three different fields: arts and sciences, education, and business administration.
USW strives to make college affordable for students with other life commitments. The school offers its online students a free laptop, textbooks, and virtual healthcare.
The University of the Southwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Western New Mexico University is committed to providing students with an affordable online education. The school offers fully online programs for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.
Most courses are asynchronous, but a few programs do require synchronous meetings. WNMU offers online tutoring that can be accessed at any time. Areas of study offered include educational leadership, chemical dependency, and mathematics.
Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Online Degree in New Mexico
For many postsecondary students in New Mexico, opportunities abound. The southwestern state is committed to improving its education system and making higher education accessible to everyone through top-quality colleges and universities and plenty of online learning opportunities.
If you’re looking to jump-start your higher education journey, you may consider researching accredited online colleges in NM that offer your chosen degree program.