Online colleges in New Mexico can be the first step to a brighter future. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 28% of New Mexico residents over the age of 25 have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition to higher earning potential, a bachelor’s degree prepares workers for a wider range jobs than those without a college education. Read on to learn more about the benefits of earning an online degree in New Mexico.
Higher Learning Initiatives in New Mexico
Adult Education and the Workforce
Much of the work of the department focuses on educating adults over the age of 25 due to the fact that, according to the department website, more than one in five adults over the age of 25 in New Mexico have not finished high school. With the help of public and private universities, colleges, and online colleges, the department aims to provide adult education to this segment of the New Mexico population. With the help of the department and various universities, colleges, and online colleges, 23,248 adults received educational services through 27 adult education administrative centers. As of 2010, more than 1,250 of those students have obtained jobs; 2,691 have passed the GED; and 1,050 have enrolled in postsecondary education.
The department has worked alongside two- and four-year colleges to create incentive programs for students to attend postsecondary institutions. Many of these incentive programs incorporate the use of technology and online courses in order to introduce affordable, efficient college options for students. Furthermore, the department has introduced policies that will increase the staff capacity in New Mexico higher education institutions to monitor and implement state policies in online colleges. Many of the programs will focus on creating short-term, career-oriented training programs in courses like business, cosmetology, allied health, trade, and other technical fields in online college courses.
New Mexico’s Center on Education and the Workforce reports that by 2018, nearly 61% of all job openings will require workers with at least some college education; 31% will require a bachelor’s degree or better, and 30% will require some college or a two-year associate degree. That said, the department has created programs and policies that encourage workers to pursue continued education through Master of Business Administration programs and other career-centric majors and online courses. The focus is on statewide economic development and specific workforce and education priorities for the whole state. A workforce training committee that is composed of college deans, community and business representatives, economic developers, and key community leaders, was created to develop training and curricula for workforce needs in the state. Many of these initiatives are completed by creating more online college course options.
Popular Degree Programs in New Mexico
Every state’s economy is unique. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in 2017 mining, oil, and natural gas remain the primary economic drivers in New Mexico. Students enrolled in online colleges in New Mexico earn degrees that reflect the top industries in state. Below you can find the two most popular college degrees in New Mexico.
- Science and Engineering: In 2017, over 135,000 people 25 and older had earned a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering in New Mexico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A science and engineering degree offers a broad education that incorporates many disciples. This degree prepares students for careers in fields such as mining, energy, transportation, and manufacturing.
- Business: A bachelor’s in business management degree teaches students the basics in finance, accounting, marketing, and business. Graduates who have a business management degree enter the workforce as accountants, human resource managers, and loan officers.
Paying for College in New Mexico
Many factors play a role in determining a student’s college choice. Location, curriculum, campus life, prestige, and cost all factor into a student’s decision making process. Tuition typically determines where a student ultimately decides to go to college. Choosing to attend college in-state almost always costs less than attending college out-of-state. As of 2018 four-year college tuition in New Mexico for state residents runs $7,130 a year, lower than the national average of $9,978.
When students create a school budget they must account for numerous costs. The largest sum of money in a student’s college budget goes to tuition and fees. Additionally students must also pay for books, supplies, room and board, food, parking, and transportation.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in New Mexico
Nationwide, the state of New Mexico has the seventh highest unemployment rate. The unemployment rate of 4.6% is higher than the national average. The only states with higher unemployment rates are Ohio, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Alaska.
Even in this challenging job climate graduates of online colleges in New Mexico can land jobs in many growing industries. Fields such as education, training, and library occupations offer an annual mean wage of $50,620 and, as of 2017, employed over 50,000 people. Architecture and engineering jobs also offer opportunities to graduates with an annual mean wage of $92,410. Those industries employed over 20,000 worker as of 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Accreditation for Colleges in New Mexico
In New Mexico, as in every other state, colleges have either national or regional accreditation. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 85% of colleges have regional accreditation. Academic universities and colleges — both two-year and four-year schools — typically have regional accreditation. Regional accreditation bodies certify that programs and schools within specific geographical regions meet academic standards. This includes evaluation of a school’s curriculum, learning outcomes, and instructors. Regional accreditation also certifies degrees and allows students to transfer credits between other regionally accredited colleges.
Accreditation can also affect funding. For example, to receive federal funding, students must attend an accredited college. Additionally, employers typically favor candidates who attend an accredited college. The Higher Learning Commission accredits colleges in New Mexico.
Vocational and technical schools, generally, receive national accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or CHEA, regulates national accreditation. Regional accreditation offers more prestige. Furthermore, credits at nationally accredited colleges cannot always transfer to regionally accredited schools.
Scholarships for New Mexico Online College Students
College students often depend on federal loans and grants to help pay for school. Another source comes from scholarships, which do not need to be repaid. Students can find scholarships for specific majors, colleges, and also awards just for residents of New Mexico. Below you can explore 10 such scholarships.
- New Mexico Manufactured Housing Association Scholarship
Who Can Apply: New Mexico high school graduates who live in a manufactured home can apply for this scholarship established by the New Mexico Manufactured Housing Association in 1995. Applicants must submit an essay outlining their goals and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
- New Mexico State Student Incentive Grants
Who Can Apply: Undergraduates who live in New Mexico can apply for this grant with the option to renew every year. To apply, students must complete a FAFSA, demonstrate their financial need, and have U.S. citizenship.
Amount: $200 to $2,500
- Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Technical School Scholarship
Who Can Apply: First-year students enrolled in a two-year technical school who also plan on pursuing careers in the coal mining industry can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must have residency status in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, or North Dakota.
- Sussman-Miller Educational Assistance Award Program
Who Can Apply: New Mexico residents currently enrolled in a public college or in their senior year of high school can apply for this scholarship, which was established to honor Shirley Sussman Spiewak in 1994. Preference goes to low-income students.
Amount: $500 to $8,000
- Carl F. Scott Scholarship Fund for Tucumcari Lodge #27 A.F. & A.M.
Who Can Apply: New Mexico students who live in Quay County qualify for this award. Students pursuing an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or advanced degree can apply. Applicants must outline their academic plans and graduation timeline.
Amount: $750 to $2,650
- Youth in Foster Care Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: This award, founded by long-time Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers Jim and Ann Nelson, goes to young adults who have spent at least one year in foster care. Applicants must be New Mexico residents ages 17-21. The scholarship goes to high school and current college students with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- The Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Named in honor of Andrew Piech, this scholarship helps graduating seniors and current undergraduates enrolled in online colleges in New Mexico. Part-time and full-time students may apply. Applicants must major in automotive or technical vocational studies.
- Rae Lee Siporin Scholarship for Women
Who Can Apply: Rae Lee Siporin, a first-generation college graduate, started this scholarship to help women in New Mexico pursue their higher education goals. Applicants must be seniors or returning college students. Applicants must complete an essay explaining their graduation plan. Students in financial need receive priority.
- Trythall Family Scholarship for Excellence in Continuing Education
Who Can Apply: The Trythall family started this scholarship to help working college students. Applicants must be 25 years or older and working a minimum of 20 hours a week, while maintaining a minimum 2.8 GPA. Applicants must be studying education, computer science, finance, accounting, engineering, math, healthcare, or science.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
- Pam Schneider Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship was created by the American Advertising Federation-New Mexico for students who intend to study advertising, marketing, or a related major. Eligible applicants must be full-time undergraduates enrolled in their junior or senior year, or graduate students. The application must also include a recommendation letter, an essay, transcripts, and a resume.
Resources for Students in New Mexico
- New Mexico Higher Education Department: Parents and students researching colleges can find information on financial aid, New Mexico’s 529 college savings plan, and undergraduate readiness programs at the New Mexico High Education Department website. The website also features links to scholarships and grants, and provides information on student loan repayment programs.
- GEAR UP New Mexico: The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs New Mexico, or GEAR UP, aims to ready high school students to pursue a college education. The program, funded through the U.S. Department of Education, serves about 11,000 students at 25 schools in the state. GEAR UP helps parents save for college and find funding opportunities. Students can also attend the GEAR UP NM Summer Camp to learn more about the college process.
- New Mexico Community Foundation: The New Mexico Community Foundation, which began in 1983, distributed $245,000 in college scholarships to New Mexico students in the 2016-2017 school year. Students can find numerous scholarship applications on the website. The NMCF also partners with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which offers fellowship and volunteer opportunities.
- Chegg: Chegg helps college students study for midterms and solve homework problems remotely. Students can post a question and ask an expert for help. The free app allows students to rent or buy books or e-books. A flashcard maker function helps students study for tests.
- Grammarly: This free grammar checker allows students who do not have a word processing program check any document, from emails to research papers. Install the browser extension to proofread and check for plagiarism or upload your document to the Grammarly website. The premium version requires a fee to use.
Online Schools in New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
- Graduation Rate: 29%
- Average Net Price: $11,050
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM
- Graduation Rate: 44%
- Average Net Price: $10,942
University of New Mexico-Main Campus
- Graduation Rate: 45%
- Average Net Price: $11,318
University of the Southwest
- Graduation Rate: 22%
- Average Net Price: $14,002
Western New Mexico University
Silver City, NM
- Graduation Rate: 16%
- Average Net Price: $12,826
New Mexico Highlands University
Las Vegas, NM
- Graduation Rate: 16%
- Average Net Price: $7,856