New Mexico K-12 Online Schools

New Mexico is home to numerous online programs for students in grades K-12, including two fully-online schools, a large district program, several smaller district programs and the state virtual school. The Innovative Digital Education and Learning, New Mexico (IDEAL-NM) program, makes online learning easy by providing free content to any school district or charter school in the state. The two, fully-online schools in the state have a cap of 2,500 students between them, and in 2013-14, almost 1000 students in grades 4-12 enrolled. High school students can opt for dual enrollment through one of the many state community colleges offering online courses.

New Mexico Online Colleges and Universities

New Mexico college students can earn an online degree through community colleges, public 4-year schools, tribal colleges or private schools. Central New Mexico Community College offers a variety of online, hybrid and blended courses and Western New Mexico University boasts more than 150 online undergraduate and graduate courses. All three of New Mexico’s tribal colleges offer online education, as do multiple nonprofit schools such as University of the Southwest. Dedicated online schools, vocational schools and career colleges also offer online courses for students at the post-secondary education level.

Community Colleges in New Mexico

Public 2-year education in New Mexico is available through seven independent community colleges and 10 branch community colleges of state universities. Community colleges in New Mexico offer certificate and associate degree programs in subjects ranging from baking to biotechnology to business administration. While many students emerge ready to seek employment, others utilize the 2-year schools’ transfer agreements to transfer their credits and pursue bachelor’s degrees at 4-year schools in the state. Transfer can be particularly painless for students who move from one of the branch community colleges to the main campuses of the state universities.

New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) is another provider of public 2-year education in the state. Historically, more than 90 percent of NMMI graduates go on to attend a 4-year college after earning an associate degree from the institute.

New Mexico Junior College 5317 Lovington Hwy Hobbs +

Public Colleges and Universities in New Mexico

At the 4-year level of higher education, New Mexico boasts three research institutions and four comprehensive colleges and universities. The largest public university systems in the state are the University of New Mexico (six campuses), New Mexico State University (five campuses) and Eastern New Mexico University (three campuses). The state’s flagship university (and a Hispanic-Serving Institution) UNM offers 87 bachelor’s degrees, 72 master’s degrees and 38 doctoral degrees, as well as nearly 40 complete degrees for working students through their evening and weekend degree program.

Tribal Colleges and Universities

With a rich Native American heritage, New Mexico is also home to three fully-accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs): Navajo Technical University, Institute of American Indian Arts and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). SIPI is a 2-year school, while the others offer a range of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. TCUs are known for fostering American Indian culture, languages and traditions and improving educational opportunities. The American Indian College Fund reports that 86 percent of TCU students complete their chosen program of study, while fewer than 10 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native students who go directly from reservation high schools to mainstream colleges and universities complete a bachelor’s degree.

Private Nonprofit Colleges

In addition to public higher education, New Mexico features three private nonprofit colleges: Southwestern College, St. John’s College and University of the Southwest. Southwestern College is a consciousness-centered graduate school offering master’s degrees in counseling and art therapy/counseling, four different specialty certificate programs and continuing education courses. On its two campuses, St. John’s College offers a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and master’s degrees in liberal arts and in Eastern classics. University of the Southwest is a Christian school offering more than 50 undergraduate programs and 15 graduate programs in a variety of subject areas.

New Mexico Post-Secondary School Spotlights

University of New Mexico (UNM Online)

UNM, one of the state’s biggest universities, offers many online programs and courses for students who need or prefer to learn at a distance. UNM online degree completion programs supplement on-campus studies with online courses, allowing students to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as career-relevant certificates. Topics of classes vary widely, from radiologic sciences to a multidisciplinary program known as Africana Studies. The school also offers an accelerated RN to BSN degree completion program that accepts applicable previous nursing coursework. The program was specifically developed to meet the scheduling needs of employed registered nurses. All told, there are 25 online degree completion programs at UNM.

Like other online schools in New Mexico, the specific tools and methods for each class and program may vary depending on instructor and subject matter. However, UNM Online courses generally use email, chat, discussion boards and multimedia technologies to facilitate learning and interaction. Courses follow the UNM semester calendar and have weekly agendas determined by professors, but students can complete assignments whenever they wish within that week. Some classes also include synchronous lectures, where all students and teachers log in at the same time to participate in a group discussion.

To learn more, visit

New Mexico State University (NMSU Distance Education)

New Mexico State University (NMSU) offers many options for students looking to pursue a degree through an online school in New Mexico. Students are able to utilize the Distance Education program to fully complete certain degrees online, with other programs require some amount of on-campus work. Seven bachelor’s degrees can be earned through the university’s completion programs, designed for students who have completed their first two years of undergraduate classes and are ready for higher level courses. Choices for online study include 18 master’s programs, three doctoral programs and a number of certificate and licensure options.

NMSU’s distance courses use multiple strategies including interactive television and web-based courses to bring students the same curriculum, education and experiences as on-campus classes. The university advises that students carefully consider whether they are candidates for a distance program. Ideal students should be able to devote seven to 10 hours of work per week for each online class, and they need self-motivation and time management skills, strong English reading and writing capabilities and an understanding of computer basics, such as creating and saving files and using email and web programs proficiently

The university offers many Internet resources for distance learners, stating that online services can help students successfully manage their academic careers remotely. Resources include myNMSU, a site for course registration, financial aid status, payment information, grades and other student services; yourNMSU, a student guide maintained by the Office of Student Engagement; and Student Accessibility Services, which offers a variety of services to students with physical, learning or psychological disabilities.

For more information, visit

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM Distance Learning)

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) offers a range of options for students looking to complete courses or full associate degrees at an online school in New Mexico. Modes of delivery include fully-online (100 percent), hybrid (50 percent online and 50 percent on-campus) and blended (51-99 percent online). Over 500 courses are offered online – nearly a quarter of all courses at CNM.

With recent changes to distance learning options, CNM prides itself on a dedication to providing quality and modern online education. The university has offered online learning for over a decade, but has recently revamped the program to offer a more structured and consistent online classroom in order to help students complete courses more easily, and with less of a learning curve. As technologies and structure remain consistent from one online class to the next, students become familiar with the format of these classes, which will be repeated in future online courses that they make take. The university has dedicated staff to oversee the online program, including several distance learning specialists, a distance learning achievement coach and a distance learning librarian.

Read more about CNM’s Distance Learning program at

Best Online Colleges and Universities in New Mexico

Best for Future Service Members

New Mexico is an ideal place for prospective students looking for ways to serve their country. The ROTC runs Army, Navy and Air Force branches at many universities across New Mexico. For those civic-minded graduate and undergraduate students, we’ve compiled a list of the top 4-year, nonprofit schools that work with at least two ROTC programs.

Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
University of New Mexico-Main Campus $4,826 Albuquerque Yes Yes Yes
New Mexico State University-Main Campus $4,766 Las Cruces Yes No Yes

Best for Personal Attention

Four-year colleges and universities in New Mexico offer an excellent range of educational options in the degrees and professional certificates. While many students love the large college experience, they’re not happy being lost in the maze of overcrowded class sections and unavailable mentors. We’re proud to choose these nonprofit 4-year colleges that have kept the student/professor ratio low.

New Mexico State University-Main Campus 18 to 1 16,418 $4,766 Public Las Cruces
New Mexico Highlands University 14 to 1 2,938 $2,653 Public Las Vegas
University of the Southwest 13 to 1 362 $14,280 Private not-for-profit Hobbs
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 13 to 1 1,637 $4,828 Public Socorro
Western New Mexico University 13 to 1 3,523 $3,200 Public Silver City
Northern New Mexico College 12 to 1 2,863 $2,411 Public Espanola
St John's College 8 to 1 398 $44,554 Private not-for-profit Santa Fe
Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture 8 to 1 484 $3,120 Public Santa Fe

Best for Women in Technology

Technology is growing by leaps and bounds and there’s no telling where it will take us in the future. New Mexico is home to several top-notch online schools for women wanting to break into the technology field. Colleges in New Mexico are attracting a large number of women to this traditionally male-dominated field through mentorship programs and by fostering and creating an environment where women can grow and thrive. These specialized programs give women the support they need, and add to the quality education each student already receives at these institutions. Find out what New Mexico has to offer women in this fast-growing field of the future.

University of New Mexico-Main Campus $6,050 Albuquerque 144 20,647 Public
New Mexico State University-Main Campus $6,513 Las Cruces 90 13,047 Public
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology $5,496 Socorro 38 1,504 Public
Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus $4,350 Portales 6 3,000 Public

Best Schools Fighting for Families

If your dream is to help others live a better, more fulfilling life, New Mexico offers many great choices to help students earn a degree in social work. As New Mexico is home to many online schools with top programs in social welfare policy and human behavior, students may gain the knowledge they need to have a rewarding career helping others. Whether students wish to work in a school setting, hospital or in a private practice, social work programs in New Mexico deliver the tools and practice needed for every student to succeed. Financial assistance programs, hands-on learning and flexible class delivery methods are just some of the many perks you can find in the New Mexico colleges below.

New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas 258 212 46 $3,504 2,290
New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces 169 140 29 $6,513 13,047
University of New Mexico-Main Campus Albuquerque 88 61 27 $6,050 20,647
Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Portales 41 35 6 $4,350 3,000
Western New Mexico University Silver City 28 23 5 $4,314 1,735