Best Online Colleges in New Mexico

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In New Mexico, earning a college education online is becoming increasingly common. The flexibility of online study is convenient not only for students living in New Mexico’s rural communities, but also for those who want the convenience of attending college on their own time, without sacrificing academic quality.

New Mexico is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). As a WICHE member state, New Mexico provides a variety of benefits to distance learners. These include reduced tuition and interstate reciprocity agreements, which allow students to pursue academic programs that are not offered in New Mexico. Community colleges, state colleges, and the University of New Mexico system all work to provide distance learners with the services and help they need to thrive, ensuring that all students, regardless of location, have the tools to succeed in school.

Distance learners can study at their own pace, accommodating their work schedules or any other responsibilities that make attending classes on campus difficult. As online education becomes increasingly popular, students can expect universities to offer more and more of their programs online with each passing year.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Eastern New Mexico University 1/527.97%Portales, NM

With more than 50 degree options, ranging from business and education to nursing and information systems, ENMU leads the state rankings for 2016.

In addition to traditional bachelor's of arts, science and business administration programs, ENMU offers almost 20 bachelor of applied arts and science degrees, from aviation science to emergency management, culinary arts, and religion. Some majors are offered as BS, BA, and BAAS degrees. Master’s programs are in education, nursing, business, communication, and physical education.

ENMU also offers financial aid, counseling, and career services exclusively for distance education students.

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2University of New Mexico 2/547.78%Albuquerque, NM

Students may earn a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree with over 20 online degree completion options at UNM. Core and upper division courses are developed and taught by UNM faculty.

Bachelor's programs include two individualized degrees, integrative studies and liberal arts, and majors such as business administration, communication, nursing, dental hygiene, radiologic sciences, and technology & training.

Master’s degrees include education and health-related programs, as well as engineering and public administration. The university is unique in the state as it offers one of the few PhD degrees in nursing with a health policy concentration.

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3University of the Southwest 3/517.24%Hobbs, NM

Southwest offers online degrees in business and education. With no charges for out-of-state tuition, no distance education or technology fees, and the cost of digital textbooks included in tuition, it is one of the most affordable among colleges in New Mexico.

USW Online offers a dozen majors for its bachelor of business administration degree, including e-commerce, sports management, non-profit management, and global business management.

The graduate-level offerings are an MBA—which can be earned in as little as 12 months with non-traditional credit—and an MS in education with options including mental health counseling, early childhood, educational administration, and curriculum & instruction.

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4Western New Mexico University 1/520.89%Silver City, NM

Nearly 200 graduate and undergraduate online courses are offered every semester and in the summer at WNMU.

Bachelor’s programs include four education degrees, English, nursing, psychology, criminal justice, and rehabilitation services. Graduate programs include an MBA, an MA in teaching or educational leadership, and a master of social work, designed primarily for the rural practitioner.

Online classes at WNMU have specified start and end dates as well as due dates for all assignments and assessments. Most programs are delivered asynchronously, but some require occasional synchronous activities, such as on-campus labs or scheduled meetings via web-conferencing.

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More About Online Colleges in New Mexico

New Mexico has cut higher education spending since 2008 like many other states and has decreased spending by 34.2% since 2008 (a loss of $4,588 per student). However, New Mexico has increased spending 5.7% this past year, showing some effort to mitigate these cuts, and it is apparent that the local government is seeking to address these concerns in new education initiatives. Theses cuts have driven up tuition rates and have placed more of the burden on the students themselves, especially from low-income households. Tuition in New Mexico has increased 25.4% since 2008 ($1,214), and experienced a 3.9% ($225) increase from 2013-2014. Online education is generally more affordable, and in a challenging economic environment, could be an effective way for students to increase their earning potential while continuing their employment.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in New Mexico for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

A 2014 report by the US Department of Education identified the following about online education’s contributions to the New Mexican postsecondary system:

  • The total number of students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in New Mexico was 20,357 in fall 2012.
  • Of these, 17,364 were enrolled exclusively in undergraduate distance courses (12.1% of total undergraduates), and 2,993 were enrolled exclusively in graduate distance education courses (20.4% of total graduate students).
  • 10.1% of all degree-seeking students in New Mexico were enrolled exclusively online. 4,505 (8.6% of attendees) were enrolled at Title IV public 4-year institutions were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses.
  • 12,382 students (15.3% of attendees) were enrolled in 2-year institutions exclusively online.

According to data collected by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, New Mexico ranks #1 in the Nation for Student loan defaults. First year retention rate at 4 year colleges is 71.8% and the state currently averages a cost per student of $11,833. The average 4-year degree costs $54,271 (ranked #42 in the nation).

As New Mexico continues to battle dwindling college attendance, new digital education initiatives like IDEAL New Mexico are providing online learning opportunities for students in grades K-12. This program is designed to offer educational opportunities to a broader range of students, and seeks to involve a greater number of students in pre-college and college readiness preparation. New Mexico is seeking to increase the number of high school graduates, and the number of students who enter college. As the local economy slowly recovers, the state is hoping to offer more flexible programs that will engage a greater portion of the young population and offer incentives to attract out-of-state students.

Currently the University of New Mexico is a leader in online education in New Mexico, offering the widest range of online courses. Also of note, is that all of New Mexico’s Tribal colleges offer online education. These programs are designed to be affordable and flexible. All programs are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.