Best Colleges in New Mexico

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Finding the right school can be quite the task for any college-bound student looking for the right balance of academics, location and cost. There are 28 postsecondary institutions in New Mexico, offering a wide range of academic opportunities and professional studies, with 119,917 students enrolled in Spring 2015. We have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in New Mexico, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

As its economy slowly recovers, New Mexico is committed to directing its educational policy to effect real progress with newly revised performance goals designed to reward a higher standard of academic progress and to better fund students in need. New Mexico is struggling to attract new students to higher-education programs as more of the early working age population (especially those over the age of 25) find full time employment and choose not to enroll full-time in school. Declines in attendance are prominent at the postsecondary level, especially at private 4-year colleges. Enrollment at the University of New Mexico was down 3% this past year, and New Mexico State University’s enrollment decreased by 5.6% over the last two years. This does not mean, however, that the future is bleak. New funding initiatives have expanded educational incentives and outreach in New Mexico, and college-bound students will find themselves with greater educational opportunities, savings opportunities and personalized attention.

The average tuition for 4-year college in New Mexico was $11,807, reflecting a 2.73% annual increase from the previous year. The most expensive in-state tuition in 2015 was $47,176 at St. John’s College, and the most affordable was $2,748 at Northern New Mexico College. But despite the increased cost of education, the financial benefits of earning a higher degree are handsome. The National Center for Education Statistics shows bachelor degree holders earned a median yearly wage of $48,500 in 2013 (more than twice that of a person with only a high school diploma).

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 2/545.45%Socorro, NM

campus-new-mexico-institute-of-mining-and-technology

For students interested in receiving an education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, NMT is one of the best in the southwest. This academically rigorous school is committed to developing the science professionals of the future by emphasizing interdisciplinary research, applied classes, and real-world problem solving.

NMT conducts ongoing research into oil and gas production, software development, astronomy, and physics. Students in these programs do everything from atmospheric research to flying experimental rockets. These opportunities are available to students around the country, as NMT offers live, web-based courses through its distance education program.

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2

St. John’s College – Santa Fe

 5/550%Santa Fe, NM

campus-st-johns-college-santa-fe

St. John’s sets the standard in liberal arts education among all colleges in New Mexico. The curriculum is rigorous and collaborative, focusing on original texts of history’s greatest minds, from Homer to Plato to Nietzsche. Students leave the college confident in their communication, thinking, and creative reasoning skills.

Tucked into 250 acres in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Santa Fe campus immerses students in the rich traditions of New Mexico. Santa Fe is a quirky and creative place, and is an excellent home for St. John’s unique curriculum and focus.

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3

University of New Mexico

 2/547.78%Albuquerque, NM

campus-university-of-new-mexico

UNM’s main campus lies in the heart of Albuquerque, where students study in a fantastic location surrounded by Pueblo Revival architecture. Beyond the aesthetics, UNM is first and foremost a research institution where students can work in high-tech laboratories on take classes from experts across a variety of disciplines.

Notably, UNM is the only Hispanic-Serving school among New Mexico colleges that has also been designated a Carnegie Research University with Very High Activity. This distinction stems from both the school’s excellent facilities and world class faculty. UNM’s professors include a Nobel Laureate winner, MacArthur Fellows, and more than 30 Fulbright scholars.

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4

Northern New Mexico College

 1/515.25%Espanola, NM

campus-northern-new-mexico-college

At Northern New Mexico, students learn in an active environment that has fostered close ties with the local community in Española. Northern is the most affordable of the four-year colleges in New Mexico, and the school offers bachelor's, associate, and certificate programs in everything from business administration to barbering and nursing.

Northern provides students with a variety of extracurricular activities. The college hosts a range of student organizations, including student government, chess club, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

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5

New Mexico State University

 2/545.69%Las Cruces, NM

new-mexico-state-university_campus

New Mexico State is the state’s land-grant school, and is committed to teaching, research, and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. NMSU is diverse and inclusive, and is also a NASA Space Grant College.

Perhaps NMSU’s most prominent feature is the school’s extension program. NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is central to the school’s land-grant mission, providing the people of New Mexico with projects that improve quality of life throughout the state. Whether through energy and water, farm and ranch, or health programs, CES is a cornerstone of the NMSU experience.

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6

Eastern New Mexico University

 1/527.97%Portales, NM

At Eastern New Mexico, students engage in a traditional learning experience that emphasizes liberal education and freedom of inquiry. Eastern is affordable and offers a range of degree programs. The school has more than 60 associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, and several evening, online, and on-site video conference courses. Like many other colleges in New Mexico, ENMU also offers several programs and classes online.

One cool on-campus feature is Eastern’s broadcast center, located in the school’s communication building. Here, students can earn course credits while working for on-air programs, and learn everything from news reporting to video production.

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7

New Mexico Highlands University

 1/517.2%Las Vegas, NM

NMHU provides students with a small classroom atmosphere, affordable tuition, and classroom flexibility. Like many New Mexico colleges, NMHU offers a range of degrees, though the school is particularly strong in health and human services.

NMHU’s Indigenous Knowledge Center partners with the school of social work to prepare students for careers in the field. The center focuses on students from regional tribes, and allows students to build service learning projects to meet community needs.

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8

University of the Southwest

 3/517.24%Hobbs, NM

University of the Southwest is a private, four-year, non-denominational university perfect for students looking to attend school in a Christian environment. USW boasts top education and business programs, and offers classes both on-campus and online, making it one of the more accessible colleges in New Mexico.

The university’s curriculum and campus culture is rooted in core Christian values. Faculty and students work together to help foster positive change and make an impact on the world at large. Service is a core principle at USW, and whether students choose to pursue youth mentorship, lead food drives, or pick up trash, USW supports civically-minded enrichment projects.

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9

Western New Mexico University

 1/520.89%Silver City, NM

With more than 3,500 students, five campuses, and a variety of online learning opportunities, this Hispanic Serving Institution is one of the most diverse colleges in New Mexico. WNMU offers 70 fields of study, online and in-person courses, and an on-campus museum.

WNMU has both a child development center and family resource center, which affords early childhood education students hands-on learning opportunities. Students at WNMU benefit from a range of programs that emphasize cultural and linguistic enrichment for teachers.

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It is increasingly imperative that students attain postsecondary education to achieve success in the modern workforce, and though New Mexico is showing declining attendance in community colleges and two-year public schools, students will find and increasingly broad scope of educational offerings due to new state initiatives seeking to combat the downward enrollment trend and bolster funding for college-bound students.

The median cost of annual in-state tuition for community college is on the rise in New Mexico, climbing by 55.3%, up to $2,213, in 2014-2015 from the previous year. To save money, students might consider a two-year program as a good starting place for professional training as they continue to work, and then transition to a four-year institution as the need arises.

Popular associate degrees in New Mexico include programs for registered nurses, accountants, administrative assistants and preschool teachers. The national median annual salary of full-time workers ages 25-34 in 2013 was $37,500 for associate degree holders, a not-insignificant increase from those only holding a high school diploma. Hopes are high for an academic turnaround in the community, and students have wide access to numerous excellent 2-year programs and professional schools despite the lagging enrollment. Students should consult the New Mexico Higher Education Department website for more information on financial aid and college preparation guidelines.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

University of New Mexico – Los Alamos Campus

 1/58.7%Los Alamos, NM

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The University of New Mexico is a four-year institution that includes a community college at its Los Alamos campus. Students who begin their education at Los Alamos can make a seamless transfer of credits to UNM and other four-year institutions at an affordable price. Small class sizes mean more hands-on learning.

One of 23 colleges in New Mexico, UNMLA offers associate of art (AA), associate of science (AS), and applied associate of science degrees (AAS), along with an academic certificate that leads to further study or employment. The Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of UNMLA’s unique features and a great resource for students.

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2

New Mexico Junior College

 1/524.58%Hobbs, NM

campus-new-mexico-junior-college

New Mexico Junior College is one of 23 colleges in New Mexico. Among its unique features is the residential living option. NMJC students living in Thunderbird Village find the sort of community that is standard in a four-year residential college, but at a community college price. From cookouts to late night conversations, NMJC students forge strong bonds with each other. Commuter students also engage in community life by participating in NMJC’s multiple student organizations.

NMJC offers several two-year degrees, including AA, AS, and AAS programs. NMJC supports non-traditional learning through its distance education program as well.

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3

Central New Mexico Community College

 1/513.14%Albuquerque, NM

campus-central-new-mexico-community-college

Central New Mexico Community College is metropolitan Albuquerque’s main institution for associate degree and certificate programs. With four campuses across the city, CNMCC is the largest among colleges in New Mexico, and it offers distance education, dual credit for high school students, and adult basic education.

From a broad education and workforce-training curriculum to affordable per-unit fees, CNMCC serves a diverse population with equally diverse educational goals. From transferring to a four-year institution or improving skills for employment advancement, CNMCC offers a broad range of academic programs. The school is also nationally known for its progressive leadership in the community college system.

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4

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

 1/57.77%Albuquerque, NM

campus-southwestern-indian-polytechnic-institute

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute has transfer agreements with the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, and New Mexico Highlands University. SIPI offers face-to-face and online instruction leading to a variety of degrees and certificates, and is known among colleges in New Mexico for its medical assistant, business, and management programs.

SIPI is also known among colleges in New Mexico for its commitment to serving geographically isolated populations lacking easy access to postsecondary education. The school is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), a community of institutions tasked with strengthening tribal nations.

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5

New Mexico State University-Alamogordo

 1/510.98%Alamogordo, NM

campus-new-mexico-state-university-alamogordo

New Mexico State University, Alamogordo is a two-year college at New Mexico State University at Las Cruces. NMSU has a transfer articulation with Alamogordo.

An accredited institution known for its associate degrees and certificates in general studies, nursing, and business, NMSUA is one of four community colleges in the NMSU system. Like most other community colleges, NMSUA has an open admissions policy, which means that, apart from specified restricted programs, anyone can attend. It also supports continuing education and professional development with face-to-face and distance learning options.

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6

Santa Fe Community College

 1/511.06%Santa Fe, NM

Situated on 366 acres just 12 miles southwest of picturesque Santa Fe, SFCC offers a comprehensive curriculum for both certificate and associate degree programs. Over 100 degrees and certificates are offered including film crew training, dental assisting, culinary arts, gallery management, emergency medical response, and woodworking.

SFCC also offers non-credit and adult basic education courses. The affordable curriculum supports professional development. Distinct among other colleges in New Mexico is SFCC’s new Trade and Advanced Technologies Center, which students can pursue an array of degree and non-degree courses in green technologies.

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7

Navajo Technical University

 1/518.04%Crownpoint, NM

Navajo Technical University was inaugurated in 1979 as the Navajo Skills Center with the goal of serving its unemployed population. Now, the tribally controlled, accredited institution has become a major technical and vocational force in education.

Comprised of seven schools—Applied Technology, Science, Nursing, Arts & Humanities, Business & Education, Diné Studies & Law Studies, Engineering, and Math, & Technology—NTU has diverse programs that terminate in certificates and associates, bachelors, and masters degrees. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the university aims to educate Navajos, and support the Navajo culture and traditions.

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8

San Juan College

 1/514.15%Farmington, NM

San Juan College is a New Mexico college offering courses ranging from the humanities to the trades and technology. An accredited branch of New Mexico State University, SJC students can affordably complete certificate and associate degree programs as well as general education and major requirements for transfer to the New Mexico State University system.

The comprehensive two-year college offers campus housing and a vibrant community life. The San Juan College Veteran Center, for example, provides transitional and other support specific to veterans’ needs, while the college’s Dual Credit and Early Admissions Programs support high school students’ transition to college.

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9

New Mexico State University – Grants Campus

 1/59.38%Grants, NM

One of four New Mexico State University community colleges, Grants Campus prizes diversity in its community as well as the flexibility and options that support student success. Grants’ Dual Credit Program is unique among colleges in New Mexico. This program allows eligible high school students to enroll in college-level courses that earn them credit toward their high school and college completion requirements.

NMSU offers over 180 degree programs. At Grants Campus, programs of study range from Automotive to Sociology, and the tuition is cost-effective. In addition, NMSU is a NASA Space Grant College.

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10

Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell Campus

 1/524.71%Roswell, NM

Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell offers a high-quality, accredited, and affordable education. Boasting over 70 certificate and associate programs, Roswell prepares students for transfer or employment.

ENMU runs the only FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technology program in Southeast New Mexico. The school operates a Special Services program for students with disabilities, provides affordable on-campus living options, maintains approximately 650 computers for student use, maintains “smart” classrooms that reflect a commitment to technological enhancements in support of education, and provides access to further undergraduate and graduate education through ENMU—Portales.

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11

Eastern New Mexico University – Ruidoso Campus

 1/512.66%Ruidoso, NM

ENMU is near the southern-most ski resort in the U.S. at the base of Sierra Blanca, and students attending the school can enjoy outdoor activities year-round. ENMU - Ruidoso is among the most affordable two-year colleges in New Mexico, and anyone with a high school diploma or GED certificate can enroll in classes for college credit.

The school offers several associate degrees, including criminal justice, early care and education, wildland fire service, and information systems - cybersecurity. ENMU also offers certificate programs, including computer and network security, culinary arts, pre-nursing, and welding technology.

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12

Mesalands Community College

 1/544.34%Tucumcari, NM

Mesalands offers a hands-on learning environment for students who want a collaborative educational experience. MCC offers a diverse selection of programs, including artistic silversmithing, paleontology, and a wind energy technology program. The school also has a College Rodeo Team that competes in national competitions.

A unique feature among New Mexico colleges, the school’s Mesalands Dinosaur Museum has 10,000 square feet of exhibit space and a spacious, well-equipped paleontology/geology laboratory. The Museum focuses on the Mesozoic period, and has a host of replicated and original fossils.

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13

Luna Community College

 1/518.48%Las Vegas, NM

Luna is located in the lower slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. It started as a vocational school but has since added technical and professional education programs to its course offerings. The school has a Veterans Resource Center for military members and their families to find academic and career advisement, counseling, peer-to-peer mentoring, and much more.

Luna is one of the most accommodating colleges in New Mexico, and has childcare services on campus for students, staff, and community members. The college has a School of Business as well programs in video game design, and dental assisting. Several certificate programs are also available, including automotive technology.

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14

Northern New Mexico College

 1/515.25%Espanola, NM

Northern offers 15 baccalaureate degrees, 35 associate degrees, and 14 certificate programs in various fields including renewable energy, cosmetology and barbering, Pueblo Indian studies, and radiation protection. NNMC is known among colleges in New Mexico for its focus in STEM subjects.

The school also receives grants like the National Institutes of Health grant to increase students’ biomedical and biobehavioral research capacity. The men's and women's basketball teams routinely compete in the AII Conference Tournament. Northern also has an art gallery and a literary journal, both of which feature work by acclaimed local artists.

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15

New Mexico State University – Carlsbad

 1/55.56%Carlsbad, NM

NMSU Carlsbad offers some of the most beautiful scenery among New Mexico colleges, and geologists travel from around the world to study the nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

The 142,000-square-foot campus is equipped with more than 500 personal computers for students. The school has a state-of-the-art training program on campus with computer-integrated manufacturing systems, including computer-aided design and manufacturing equipment, and computer numerically controlled systems. NMSU Carlsbad also has programs in surgical technology, linguistics, digital media, and manufacturing sector development. Classes are small as NMSU Carlsbad has about 2,000 students.

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16

New Mexico State University – Dona Ana

 1/511.24%Las Cruces, NM

NM - Dona Ana is in Las Cruces, which has several nearby breweries, wineries, and ghost towns. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the numerous parks near college as well as the White Sands National Monument and the Fort Selden State Monument.

NM - Dona Ana has programs in diagnostic medical sonography, fire science technology, and water technology. It is also home to the Small Business Development Center, where quality confidential counseling and guidance are offered. Help with money management, career planning/exploration, and social services are available to students at the school's Center for Career and Student Success.

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17

University of New Mexico – Taos

 1/511.36%Ranchos de Taos, NM

UNM-Taos is in a high mountain valley between the Rio Grande and the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo and fully powered by one of the largest solar arrays in New Mexico.

UNM-Taos has diverse program options, including emergency medical services, fine woodworking, and construction technology. The digital media arts program hosts events and offers classes on technology, art, and media. The school is home to Veterans Upward Bound (VUB)—to the only Federal TRiO Program for veterans funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education in New Mexico. VUB offers special instruction, advising, and tutoring to veterans for free.

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18

Clovis Community College

 1/523.84%Clovis, NM

Clovis Community College has several areas of study, including cosmetology, welding, and graphic design. CCC also has online programs in a variety of fields, including criminal justice and behavioral science.

CCC's active foundation donates money for facilities like the Kathryn B. Skarda, an RN Simulation within the Allied Health Building. CCC is the recipient of many grants, including a $1.2 million community-based job training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for Industrial Technology programs. CCC is in Clovis, NM, which has professional and youth rodeo events, several museums, the Clovis Music Festival, and the Cannon Air Force Base.

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19

University of New Mexico – Valencia County

 1/510.16%Los Lunas, NM

UNM Valencia in Tome is between Belen and Los Lunas and occupies 150 acres of rural land. The campus has the Rio Grande Valley to the west and the Manzano Mountains to the east, and won an outstanding landscape award from the New Mexico Society of Architecture. UNM Valencia is a short drive from Tomé Hill National Park, a reminder of New Mexico’s ancient volcanic past.

The college has a wealth of courses focusing on modern technology, including 3D printing, game design & simulation, and eLearning. UNM Valencia offers certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees.

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20

University of New Mexico – Gallup

 1/59.32%Gallup, NM

UNM Gallup is in the Colorado Desert Plateau, a culturally unique region with numerous conservation areas and Indian reservations. The college serves a Native American population of about 79%, including the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni.

Students can earn certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees. There is one PhD program. The school stands out among New Mexico colleges for its Skill Up Network PATH Allied Health program that includes a variety of courses for those wanting a new career in healthcare. Priority is given to veterans and their spouses, unemployed people, and students with a high school diploma or GED.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in New Mexico, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Land of Enchantment.

New Mexico is located in the Southwest United States and is bordered by Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and Mexico. It is one of the Four Corner States, and encompasses diverse terrain spread across 121,589 square miles. The population in 2014 was 2,085,572 statewide. New Mexico boasts a long list of spectacular national monuments, including the Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands and Petroglyph National Monument. Vast expanses of desert give way to deep river gorges and beautiful National Forest areas like the Gila National Forest. The climate is arid to semiarid through most of the state, but temperatures can fluctuate to extremes depending on altitude and season, and in winter months some areas experience freezing climate. The territory was historically inhabited by Pueblo cultures, and a strong Native American Indian Tribal cultural influence is still present.

New Mexico’s economy is driven by oil and gas industries as well as tourism. The military maintains a strong presence in New Mexico, and the state is home to the headquarters of numerous private air and space companies, like Virgin Galactic and SapceX. Spaceport America, located near White Sands, has experienced development challenges, but represents an exciting new phase in private space exploration and innovation.

The state economy has been slowly recovering from the 2008 recession, and unemployment has been declining statewide. Job growth is at 0.12% (the national average is currently 1.18%), but is projected to approach 34.30% in the next ten years. However, the economic recovery has affected enrollment and graduation rates in higher education as more workers in their mid-twenties choose to stay in the workforce rather than attend college. A report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has shown a significant decline in enrollment of 8.3% in postsecondary institutions from Spring 2014 to Spring 2015. A recent report by The New Mexico Higher Education to the Legislative Finance Committee also describes these economic effects and proposes initiatives to address college preparation in high school, increased opportunities for distance education and adaptive learning and to attract out-of-state students. New Mexico schools currently spend just over $11,000 per student per year.

The most recent 2013 U.S. Census Bureau survey shows an upward trend in the percent of the working-age population with at least an associate degree (40% in 2013). However, New Mexico has lagged behind the national average. Currently only 26.37% of the state’s population over 25 holds a high school degree, and 14.63% of the population over 25 holds a 4-year college degree. Percentages are significantly lower for professional degrees. Declines in the state’s student population may prove challenging to economic progress and quality of life in coming years unless current initiatives are able to turn this trend around. Two such initiatives are the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s (WICHE) State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) that seeks to make inter-state distance education programs more available to residents and to attract out-of-state students, and Gear Up New Mexico, which seeks to increase the number of college-bound high school students.

Despite these challenges, New Mexico remains an affordable place to live. The state income tax rate is 4.9% and the median household income is $44,886. The median value of a home in New Mexico is $179,600. Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment or home is $621 (lower than the national average of $765).

Regional Spotlight: Northeast New Mexico

  • Major Cities: Las Vegas (not to be confused with Las Vegas, NV), Tucumcari, Clayton, Raton
  • Attractions: Residences of Billy the Kid and Jesse James, St. James Hotel and Restaurant, Route 66, Santa Fe Trail, Shuler theater, Capulin Volcano National Monument
  • Cost of Living: Las Vegas’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: New Mexico Highlands University, Luna Community College, Messlands Community College

Regional Spotlight: Central New Mexico

  • Major Cities: Albuquerque (largest city), Belen
  • Attractions: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, Salt Missions Trail Byway, Jemez Mountain Trail, Old Town, Albuquerque Brewery District, Sandia Mountains, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, Sky City
  • Cost of Living: Albuquerque’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Central New Mexico Community College, University of New Mexico – Main Campus, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Regional Spotlight: North Central New Mexico

  • Major Cities: Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Taos, Angel Fire
  • Attractions: Rio Grande Gorge, Bandelier National Monument, Abiquiu landscapes, Pueblo culture, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico History Museum
  • Cost of Living: Santa Fe’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: University of New Mexico – Taos, Northern New Mexico College, University of New Mexico – Los Alamos, Santa Fe Community College, St. John’s College, Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Regional Spotlight: Southeast New Mexico

  • Major Cities: Alamogordo, Roswell, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Clovis
  • Attractions: White Sands National Monument, UFO museum and Research Center, Carlsbad Caverns, The Lodge Resort at Coudcroft, Foxy Drive-In (Buddy Holly and the Crickets hangout), Giant Roadside Pistachio
  • Cost of Living: Alamogordo’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Clovis Community College, Eastern New Mexico University – Main Campus, New Mexico State University – Carlsbad, Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell, New Mexico Military Institute, Eastern New Mexico University – Ruidoso, New Mexico State University – Alamogordo

Regional Spotlight: Southwest New Mexico

  • Major Cities: Las Cruces, Silver City, Deming, Socorro
  • Attractions: Spaceport America, the Gila wilderness, Hatch Chile Festival, National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array, Blackstone Hotsprings, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
  • Cost of Living: Las Cruces’s Areavibes Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Western New Mexico University, New Mexico State University – Las Cruces, New Mexico State University – Dona Ana

Residency

Students wishing to establish residency for tuition purposes in New Mexico should review the requirements as soon as possible, as this process can be lengthy. If the student intends to live and work in New Mexico post-graduation, establishing residency prior to school is a good idea, as tuition costs and benefits are greatly discounted. Intent to domicile in state is established by gathering proof of financial independence, intent to stay and intent to continue employment in state. Adult students who are thinking of establishing residency must live in state for 12 continuous months prior to the first day of class to receive tuition discounts.

For Minors:

For students under 18, proof of enrollment in a public, private or tribal school in New Mexico is required, or documents showing enrollment in a New Mexico religious organization or sports organization. A minor’s residency is contingent upon that of his or her parents’ residency status. A minor is considered a resident even if a non-custodial parent is a legal resident of New Mexico. Students who participate in WRGP or WICHE student exchange programs are ineligible for residency.

For Adults:

Adults must provide a permanent physical address, show proof of residency (via rental or purchase agreement), and can provide utility bills, insurance bills, bank statements, paystubs and medical or public assistance cards to verify residency. Regulations for school enrollment and tuition are established by the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education, and must be established independently from other residency requirements. Individuals must show proof of financial independence and sign a written declaration of intent to establish residency. They must also reside for 12 consecutive months in state and all paperwork and applications must be completed before the first day of school.

Additional Resources for New Mexico College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links