Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
Online education in New Mexico is varied and provides education for students not only in college, but also for students in grades K-12. New Mexico is home to more than 35 accredited schools, including community colleges, public four-year schools, tribal colleges and universities and private schools. Almost all of those institutions offer something in the way of online learning, from single courses to full degrees on everything from the associate to doctoral level. Students in grades K-12 can earn credit from two fully-online schools, district programs, the state virtual school or community colleges offering dual enrollment.
Students in New Mexico paid an average of $7,924 for public tuition in the 2018-2019 school year. However, attending online public college or university could be free for some 55,000 in-state students in New Mexico beginning in the fall of 2020. In 2019, the legislature introduced the Opportunity Scholarship, which could provide free tuition to students at 29 state colleges and universities regardless of income. The program would cover in-state college expenses not paid for by the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship or federal loans and grants.
Perhaps the most storied institution of higher education in the state, New Mexico State University has over 15,000 students from across the world. Their online program follows the 2+2 method, meaning that students should spend the first 2 years studying at the local community college and the second two at NMSU. Fortunately, both of these schools offer their programs entirely online, so students can always study at their own pace. This program makes it easier for transfer students to jump in as well.
Originally the New Mexico School of Mines, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is focused on just that: the sciences behind all things mining. They currently offer 3 online master's degree programs, 2 of which are engineering degrees designed to help locals advance their career with the local mining businesses. New Mexico Tech also offers an online master's degree for teaching science, something that miners looking to change fields may be interested in.
There are two main reasons that Eastern New Mexico University's online school is starting to draw more attention. First, they just dropped the tuition rates for out-of-state students. Second, they offer one of the largest assortments of online degrees in the state. Depending on the minor that students choose, each online bachelor's degree program can be completed entirely online. Transfer students are accepted as well, both from their on-campus version and from other schools.
Founded in 1893, New Mexico Highlands University has been making a push to update their school's academics and core values by 2020. Part of that push is through their online school, a newer frontier for NMHU. There are 5 master's and 1 bachelor's program online, and the quality of each program is consistent with the university's goals. Also, while out-of-state and in-state students pay different tuitions online, NMHU can be more affordable than other options in the area.
Surrounded by natural beauty, Western New Mexico University offers programs that reflect the needs and interests of the surrounding area. The nearby Gila National Forest can be explored through their zoology program, and the growing need for teachers is addressed through their online education degrees. All of their online degrees can be completed entirely online, although some programs may require some in-person experience. Each bachelor's degree is designed to be completed in 4-years or less.
University of the Southwest is a smaller, regional school located in Hobbs, New Mexico. Their curriculum follows traditional methods, except for the Christian values they instill with each degree. There are 3 main undergraduate schools at USW: Arts & Sciences, Business and Education. The majority of these degree programs are offered online, as are the majority of their graduate degree programs. Full-time online students will receive a discount per credit over their part-time counterparts.
Explore Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in New Mexico
How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in New Mexico?
You will find no shortage of online schools and colleges in New Mexico, which can make picking a degree confusing. To find the degree best suited for your career goals and interests follow this checklist:
List your top schools
Research the curriculum
And determine the tuition
Click on the icon below for more details about New Mexico’s online programs.
How Much More Do College Grads in New Mexico Make?
A college degree can offer a pathway to a better paying career. In New Mexico, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn $44,000 a year on average, which is $17,000 more than a high school graduate according to the 2013-2017 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. Take a look at the graph below to get a better idea of what graduates earn by degree level nationwide.
Paying for Online College in New Mexico: Tuition and Financial Aid
New Mexico offers tuition that is cheaper than the national average. In-state public tuition and fees in New Mexico cost about $7,924 a year, compared to the national average of $9,037. The proposed Opportunity Scholarship would help in-state residents at public colleges. However, it still takes financial savvy to not go into debt, especially for out-of-state or private school students.
Review this graph to get a better understanding of the total cost of college in New Mexico and nationwide.
Cost Considerations for Online Students in New Mexico
The tables listed above give a general sense of the cost of tuition in New Mexico compared to national averages. However, students should take other mandatory expenses into consideration including those listed below:
Course-Specific Fee: Courses such as chemistry labs may charge students a supplemental fee to cover the costs of materials, supplies, and the use of facilities.
Online Course Fee: Online students pay a fee to cover the operating costs of the online learning platform and 24/7 technical support.
Payment Plan Fee: Students can opt to pay their tuition by enrolling in a payment plan, but this may incur an additional fee.
Student Activity Fee: Activity fees cover the costs of operating activities, clubs, and organizations. However, online students often do not pay student activity fees.
Technology Fees: Students typically pay a flat-rate fee toward the operational expenses associated with the school’s email system, technical support, and computer labs.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in New Mexico
The New Mexico Higher Education Department sets the rules for in-state residency. Students can establish residency in New Mexico and receive in-state tuition after residing in the state for 12 consecutive months. Exemptions often apply to students in the military or students financially dependent on parents who live in New Mexico.
Colleges approve a student’s in-state residency after they submit supporting documents, such as proof of residing in the state for 12 months preceding the first day of the semester. Online students can sometimes receive in-state residency tuition without meeting these requirements. Many schools have reciprocity agreements that offer students in neighboring states discounted out-of-state tuition. Check with your school for specific in-state residency requirements.
Paying for College in New Mexico: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Online college students can find interest-free financial aid from nonprofits, the state, and private institutions. Keep reading to find a sampling of some of the many scholarships and grants available to students in New Mexico.
Scholarships for New Mexico College Students
Carl F. Scott Scholarship Fund for Tucumcari Lodge No. 27 AF&AM
Who Can Apply: Students pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate can receive this scholarship. The scholarship is open to nontraditional students who live in Quay County.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship goes to New Mexico residents who have graduated from a local high school in the top 5% or can show proof of scoring a 25 on the ACT exam. Applicants also must meet income requirements.
Who Can Apply: The Opportunity Scholarship improves on the New Mexico Legislature Lottery Scholarship to provide financial aid to students at one of the state’s 29 public colleges. There are no income requirements.
Trythall Family Scholarship for Excellence in Continuing Education
Who Can Apply: Up to two students 25 years or older can win this scholarship named in honor of the Trythalls, who owned a staffing company. Applicants must live in Albuquerque and show proof of a 2.8 GPA.
Who Can Apply: This grant goes to financially needy students attending a public college or university who cannot meet the requirements to receive other state grants. Applicants must take at least six credits per semester.
Who Can Apply: The Graduate and Professional Student Association offers numerous research and professional grants for graduate students at the University of New Mexico to cover travel and materials associated with a research project.
Who Can Apply: Students attending college in New Mexico can receive financial aid if they agree to pursue a career in a high-need field after college. The New Mexico Higher Education Department offers numerous loan-for-service programs, including ones for future teachers or nurses.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in New Mexico
Accreditation serves multiple purposes. Students who attend an accredited college or university can rest assured that their education meets quality standards. With regional and national accreditation, an outside agency reviews the school’s curriculum and overall performance. Having regional accreditation, the more prestigious designation, also allows schools and students to receive federal and state financial aid. For-profit or vocation schools more frequently hold national accreditation.
Professional organizations and independent organizations also evaluate programs and departments in New Mexico. For instance, chemistry programs may receive accreditation from the American Chemical Society. Similarly, the American Psychological Association accredits psychology programs. Students typically prefer degrees from programs that carry subject-specific accreditation since it guarantees that the curriculum meets professional standards.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
If you believe that a program or school does not hold accreditation, you should do additional online research. Colleges and universities usually list accreditations online. However, if a school does not advertise its status, you can verify accreditation by searching the CHEA online directory, the Department of Education database, or the HLC website.
Online College and Adult Education in New Mexico
Out-of-state students or those living in rural areas can earn a degree by attending online classes. As you will see below, states and schools also offer numerous initiatives to help adult learners return to college.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in New Mexico
Did you know that in New Mexico an estimated 64,864 residents hold a bachelor’s degree?
The Opportunity Scholarship could make New Mexico the 21st state to provide “tuition-free” degrees to adult learners.
Some 27% of residents in New Mexico hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Adult Education Justice Initiative: The Adult Education Justice Initiative gives grants to adults 22 years or older who have criminal backgrounds and need a pathway to college.
High School Equivalency Program: The New Mexico Higher Education Department helps adult learners achieve a high school diploma by earning their GED or passing the High School Equivalency Test. The program offers both distance learning and traditional classes.
Opportunity Scholarship: The proposed New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship would contribute funds to eligible applicants attending one of the state’s 29 public colleges and universities. Adult learners returning to college can receive up to two years of financial assistance.
Online College Resources for New Mexico Students
Students in New Mexico can access countless online resources to help them at all stages of their college journey. Take a look below to find free online resources, including websites for financial aid opportunities, FAFSA workshops, and scholarships.
Adult Education Division: The New Mexico Higher Education Department offers funding, high school equivalency opportunities, and other resources to help adult learners pursue a college degree.
New Mexico State Library: In addition to library resources available through a school, students can access newspaper archives and find journal articles through El Portal, a 24/7 online service. Students can also access online tutoring services through the library’s Brainfuse HelpNow service.
Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.
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