Best Colleges in New Mexico for Associate, Bachelor’s & Master’s

New Mexico College Guide – What You Need to Know

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The state of New Mexico is home to a diverse population and a low cost of living. Here, you'll find large, research universities like the University of New Mexico, as well as more specialized schools like St. Johns College, a private liberal arts school or New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

That said, the state offers fewer in-person options for student residents, compared to states like New Jersey or California. As such, they've presented an alternative solution that opens up a few more possibilities. New Mexico is also part of an exchange program called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

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What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in New Mexico?

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the most popular bachelor’s degree in the state of New Mexico was Business Administration. New Mexico students have a range of options available, in terms of how they want to earn their education. Many of the state’s colleges and universities offer distance learning options that aim to make tuition affordable and accessible to the state’s residents.

As with other states, New Mexico is experiencing the most growth in jobs such as home healthcare aide or registered nurse. That’s not to say that healthcare professions are the only ones on the rise. Jobs like financial advisor, statisticians, and physical therapists are also increasing throughout the state. The most popular majors reflect that to some extent—especially where nursing is concerned. Still, many students are choosing majors like business administration or information technology that will prepare them for a range of roles across industries.

Here’s a brief look at the most popular majors for New Mexico students. We’ll also get into which jobs you can do after graduating with one of these degrees.

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in New Mexico


The median household income in New Mexico is $46,748, and the state economy employs about 839,000 people. The top employers are the forestry industry and the US Air Force, followed by education, food services, and construction.

According to the state census, as of 2017, roughly 26% of working adults had received a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 85% has received a high school diploma or GED. Earning a degree in New Mexico can ensure that you receive a higher than average income—especially if you go into nursing, technology, or business administration.

According to Payscale data, a bachelor of science holder earns about $65,000 per year, while the average earnings for graduates with a bachelor of arts is roughly $52,000.

Earning a master’s can help increase your earning potential, though a Master of Science ($73k on average) will pay off more than going for your Master of Arts ($54k, on average). An MBA ($73k) or an MS in Nursing ($94k) seem to provide a better return on investment for those considering grad school.

The highest paying industries are aerospace manufacturing, aluminum production, and computer equipment manufacturing, so New Mexico residents looking to secure a job in one of these areas may want to look into studying business management, supply chain operations, or engineering. While vocational training may present a faster path to working in manufacturing production, a bachelor's degree is a more versatile credential.

Education Level & National Average Median Compensation

NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best Associate Degrees in New Mexico


New Mexico's community colleges are an invaluable part of the state's economy. They provide 2-year associate degrees in a variety of subjects that launch careers in fields such as healthcare, accounting, engineering, and business. In fact, some of the best colleges in the state of New Mexico are community colleges. Here you’ll find a list of some of the best 2-year degrees in the state.

New Mexico State University-Grants
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
622
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$6,662
Grads Salary
$36,700
Central New Mexico Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
23,096
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$4,193
Grads Salary
$34,000
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,698
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$5,769
Grads Salary
$33,400
Mesalands Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
709
Graduation Rate
41%
Net Price
$6,544
Grads Salary
$27,000
Clovis Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,454
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$4,272
Grads Salary
$27,700
New Mexico Junior College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,327
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$5,225
Grads Salary
$33,300
University of New Mexico-Taos
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,046
Graduation Rate
28%
Net Price
$10,265
Grads Salary
$36,400
Northern New Mexico College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,234
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,038
Grads Salary
$31,800
University of New Mexico-Gallup
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,174
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$6,958
Grads Salary
$32,600
Santa Fe Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,459
Graduation Rate
25%
Net Price
$7,756
Grads Salary
$36,000
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Best Bachelor's Degrees in New Mexico


New Mexico's college students are lucky to have some of the nation's very best bachelor’s degree programs right in their own state. Bachelor’s programs confer invaluable degrees such as accounting, criminal justice, education, and legal studies. The best colleges in the state are listed here for students and their families to review. Find the degree for you from a school that will provide the best college experiences.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,835
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$14,834
Grads Salary
$82,000
University of New Mexico
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
22,311
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$12,200
Grads Salary
$69,300
New Mexico State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
14,227
Graduation Rate
51%
Net Price
$11,467
Grads Salary
$67,000
Eastern New Mexico University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,685
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$9,922
Grads Salary
$56,600
Northern New Mexico College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,234
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,038
Grads Salary
$55,000
St. John's College-Santa Fe
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
355
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$26,913
Grads Salary
$54,500
New Mexico Highlands University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,777
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$10,863
Grads Salary
$58,900
Western New Mexico University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,193
Graduation Rate
28%
Net Price
$13,172
Grads Salary
$59,100
University of the Southwest
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
904
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$17,369
Grads Salary
$62,300

Best Master's Degrees in New Mexico


After several years in a profession, workers often wish to improve on their bachelor’s degrees. New Mexico professionals may choose to seek out quality master’s degrees or even doctorates as a way to boost their earnings and status. Included on this list are many of the best master’s and doctoral degrees in New Mexico which may be of special interest to engineers, those in the purely scientific fields, and those looking to get ahead in academia. Check out the best MBA programs in New Mexico.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,835
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$14,834
Grads Salary
$82,000
University of New Mexico
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
22,311
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$12,200
Grads Salary
$69,300
New Mexico State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
14,227
Graduation Rate
51%
Net Price
$11,467
Grads Salary
$67,000
Eastern New Mexico University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,685
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$9,922
Grads Salary
$56,600
Northern New Mexico College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,234
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,038
Grads Salary
$55,000
St. John's College-Santa Fe
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
355
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$26,913
Grads Salary
$54,500
New Mexico Highlands University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,777
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$10,863
Grads Salary
$58,900
Western New Mexico University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,193
Graduation Rate
28%
Net Price
$13,172
Grads Salary
$59,100
University of the Southwest
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
904
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$17,369
Grads Salary
$62,300

Cost of New Mexico College Education & Salaries


New Mexico schools are all relatively affordable, at least compared with higher education costs in other parts of the country. Both University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University cost about $6,000 per year for residents, which may make these two schools the most obvious choice for students who aren’t sure how to pay for school.

Finally, students unsure of what they want to major in or who are trying to save as much money as possible may want to attend one of the state’s community colleges before transferring to a four-year university. This is a good option for students who didn’t get great grades in high school but plan on getting a bachelor’s degree.

College Cost Analysis - New Mexico vs National


Even though New Mexico receive the least amount of federal financial aid, on average, tuition costs are considerably lower as well. A student attending a public university in-state can expect to pay around $6,000 per year. The national average salary for a bachelor’s degree holder is somewhere in the ballpark of $50,000 per year. Now, keep in mind, that number spans all professions and fields of study, but graduates from New Mexico State University can expect to earn about $66,000 per year, on average.

With that in mind, New Mexico students who attend school in-state can expect to pay less than they would in other states, and potentially, earn slightly more than their counterparts across the country. Still, students concerned about maximizing their earning potential may want to opt for a technical degree like engineering, nursing, or computer science, which will pave the way for a stable, in-demand career.

Average New Mexico Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $6,902

National Average – $9,580

Out-of-State Tuition – $18,350

National Average – $27,437

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

New Mexico offers the least amount of federal student aid in the country. The state, on average, awards students with just over $8,000 in financial aid. Additionally, New Mexico leads the nation when it comes to loan default rates. Everyone’s situation is different, but New Mexico residents looking to stay local may want to consider these statistics if they’re concerned about going into debt.

That said, the cost of attending a public university in New Mexico is lower than it is elsewhere, as is the cost of living. Students in the Northeast, for example, receive an average of $11,218, but college and housing arrangements are more expensive in that part of the country.

Financial Aid New Mexico Nationally
Received Federal Grants 62% 37.7%
Average $ per Recipient $8,206 $10,927

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.
* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Scholarships for New Mexico


Every year, students end up paying more than they need to for their education. In part, it’s because the process can be overwhelming as is. While some scholarships require group membership or an outstanding academic record, others are based on financial need, such as the College Affordability Grant. Those in the process of deciding where to attend school should also apply for as many scholarships as possible, especially given the below-average federal financial aid rates in New Mexico.

Below, we’ve included a few scholarships and grants offered to New Mexico residents—though there are countless others worth checking out.

NMSP_logo

NMSP

New Mexico Scholars Program

http://www.hed.state.nm.us/students/nmscholars.aspx
Amounts: Tuition, books, and fees
Deadline: Varies by institution
The New Mexico Scholars Program awards students who graduate in the top 5% of their class, have an SAT score of 1140+, or an ACT score of 25 or higher. To qualify, students must have a combined household income of $60,000 or less per year. The scholarship may be renewed for up to four years.

CAG

College Affordability Grants

http://www.hed.state.nm.us/students/college-affordability-grant.aspx
Amounts: $1,000 per semester (Renewable)
Deadline: Varies by institution
College affordability grants are provided to those students with financial need who did not qualify for other scholarships or federal aid. Students must be enrolled in one of New Mexico’s accredited public colleges or universities and be a state resident. What’s unique about this grant is, part-time students are eligible for the award which makes this a good option for parents, full-time workers, or students who may not be able to cover the cost of full-time enrollment.

To apply students must submit their completed FAFSA and contact their institution for instruction on how to apply. Eligibility periods vary by school. Additionally, students must demonstrate financial need, confirmed by the university. Students may also renew this scholarship on an annual basis.

AAS_logo

AAS

Aggie Achiever Scholarship

http://fa.nmsu.edu/scholarships/renewal/
Amounts: $6,500 per year or $26,000 total, for those undergraduates that maintain a GPA higher than 3.5
Deadline: March 1
This scholarship is offered to students who have been enrolled at New Mexico State University’s Los Cruces campus for at least one year. Additionally, they must be planning on taking at least 15 credit hours and have a 3.5 GPA or higher.

HSFACS

HSF/NM Alliance College Scholarships

http://nmalliance.org/home/scholarships/
Amounts: $1,000-$2,500
Deadline: April 6
This scholarship is awarded to US citizens or DACA recipients who live in New Mexico and are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an accredited school. Students must qualify for federal financial aid and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The scholarship is a joint effort between the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the New Mexico Alliance for Hispanic Education. As such, applicants must be of Latino descent.

SMEAA_logo

SMEAA

Sussman Miller Educational Assistance Award

https://abqcf.org/student-aid/sussman-miller-educational-assistance-award-program/
Amounts: $500-$2,000
Deadline: Varies for out-of-state or in-state private schools vs. NM public schools
The Sussman Miller Award is offered to students who attend an accredited college or university full-time and have financial need. Students will need to provide their financial aid letter along with their application, as well as their federal student aid report, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation.

AAF_logo

AAF-NMS

AAF-NM Scholarship

http://www.aafnm.org/scholarship
Amounts: $1,400
Deadline: April 29
The American Advertising Federation’s New Mexico branch offers a $1,500 scholarship to full-time students entering their junior or senior year. Applicants must be studying advertising, marketing, business, or journalism and have a GPA of 3.0 or above. To apply, students must submit official transcripts, a resume, a letter of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining their career goals and why they’ve chosen their area of study.

PFLAG_logo

PFLAGS

PFLAG Scholarship

https://pflag.org/localpflagscholarshipprograms
Amounts: $1,000
Deadline: April 15
Santa Fe’s PFLAG chapter awards $1,000 to 15 New Mexico LGBTQ students. The organization seeks out students with strong character; integrity, honesty, and a commitment to community service. To qualify, students must be under age 35 and be able to demonstrate a record of service and community involvement. Preference is given to LGBTQ students. However, students who identify as straight allies are welcome to apply as well.

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