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New Mexico Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2017-2018

Updated on: 12/06/17

College students tend to have a lot of questions before beginning school, especially if they’ve decided to pursue an online degree. However, the entire process isn’t unlike the process of finding and affording a traditional college. This page has the answers to the most common questions students ask before enrolling in an online program. From finding out what the best online colleges are in New Mexico to figuring out how to make your online education in New Mexico more easily affordable, this is the place to start your research and your journey to online college.

What students are asking:

New Mexico’s Growth of Online Colleges

Because New Mexico is a large state that has many rural areas, online education has become a popular alternative to traditional schooling. One aspect that sets New Mexico apart is the availability of different degree programs that can be completed online. Of the 41 colleges and universities in New Mexico offering four-year, two-year and graduate programs, 16 of them have degrees that can be completed entirely online. The most popular institution for online degrees is the University of New Mexico which also happens to have online degrees available for all levels of education. New Mexico State University is another local option that offers online education.

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Tuition & Financial Aid Availability in New Mexico

Whether students are in-state or are planning to study at an institution in New Mexico, there are financial options available. To be eligible for in-state tuition, students must have been residing in the state of New Mexico for at least 12 months; however, some students can gain exemption from this requirement. On average, students that don’t qualify for in-state tuition tend to pay a higher rate. Here’s what the average tuition was for students both in-state and out-of-state in the 2015-2016 school year:

In-state tuition: $6,262

Out-of-state tuition: $15,842

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

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Should students expect to pay for in-state or out-of-state tuition for online colleges in New Mexico?

The cost of online education varies from institution to institution, but there are some online programs that charge the same rate regardless of residency. For example, the University of New Mexico has a flat cost rate per credit hour regardless of residency, a practice that has started to become fairly common across the country. However, students should not always expect to pay in-state tuition regardless of where they are based.

Students that want to pursue a hybrid program of online and in-person education will likely find that having in-state residency will reduce their tuition costs. Because hybrid programs are partially in person, most New Mexico institutions will charge students tuition based on their current residency. However, remaining in-state for 12 months will lead to residency.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1.Online students may qualify for in-state tuition regardless of their current residency.

  • 2.Students pursuing a hybrid degree should expect to pay tuition based on their current residency; i.e., out-of-state students will pay out-of-state tuition.

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What are the steps for applying for financial aid in New Mexico?

For those who are currently a US citizen, the first step should be to fill out the FAFSA application. This is a national financial aid program responsible for giving billions of dollars in financial aid each year. Students should complete their FAFSA application before March 15th, or as early as October 1st.

The state of New Mexico offers financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work study. Depending on the type of financial aid, students might have to be a current resident; however, there are forms of financial aid available to out-of-state students.

Although the state of New Mexico doesn’t have a specific state-sponsored program for financial aid, there are plenty of options available for students. Depending on the type of financial aid a student applies for, the requirements to earn and maintain the financial aid will range.

One option that could be available to students is WUE, or the Western Undergraduate Exchange. This is available to students that are residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

With WUE, residents of these states will get to study in other member states while paying just 150% of in-state tuition. This usually leads to a big cut in tuition costs. Not all schools accept WUE, and the requirements to get accepted for WUE change each year. However, it’s worth researching whether you’re eligible with your current state of residence and your school of choice.

Scholarship & Grant Opportunities in New Mexico

Students that end up studying in New Mexico will find that there are many different scholarship and grant opportunities, as well as other forms of financial aid. Because of the wide range of availability, students that are both in-state and coming from out of state will be able to find something that they are eligible for.

Here’s a look at some of the most common questions students have when it comes to scholarships and grants in the state of New Mexico:

What scholarships and grants in New Mexico can I apply for?

The state of New Mexico sponsors a variety of scholarships and grants, all of which can be found on their website. There are also awards available for students that are studying both on-campus and online. Another complete list of scholarships available for students in New Mexico is also available on various scholarship search engines, such as Unigo. These resources are good starting points when it comes to looking for scholarships and grants.

How do I apply for New Mexico’s scholarships and grants?

Depending on the scholarship or grant that students are applying for, there are different requirements and rules for application. To apply, students should first find a scholarship that they are eligible for and then proceed to research the application process. Some scholarships are available well before students begin college classes, and others are not available until after the first college semester has ended. Common requirements for the applications include:

  • Completion of application form;
  • Providing accurate information such as academic history and contact info;
  • Submission of standardized test scores;
  • Including letters of recommendation; and
  • Writing an essay based on provided prompt.
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Top Online Colleges in New Mexico for 2018

Different colleges and programs are going to be ideal for different students depending on their needs. However, most prospective college students will want to see a list of the best accredited online colleges in New Mexico as well as the best affordable online colleges in New Mexico. To make things easier for prospective students, here’s a list that combines multiple factors, creating a comprehensive “best” 2017-2018 college list for students to check:

badge
Methodology
  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution

  • At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)

  • At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)

Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:

  • Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-teacher ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • % of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

  • *PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or ‘bang for your buck’ – of an online degree.

Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.

  • Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, NM 100.00 $4,812 15 38% 16:1 43% no yes yes
2 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM 99.02 $3,562 20 41% 16:1 17% no yes yes
3 University of New Mexico-Main Campus Albuquerque, NM 96.67 $5,646 3 53% 19:1 48% no yes yes
4 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM 96.41 $14,616 36 78% 17:1 14% no no yes
5 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Portales, NM 96.39 $3,065 14 41% 19:1 29% no yes yes
6 New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas, NM 96.31 $3,192 3 44% 14:1 18% no yes yes
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2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 New Mexico State University-Alamogordo Alamogordo, NM 100.00 $2,232 4 46% 14:1 N/A no yes yes
2 New Mexico Junior College Hobbs, NM 99.04 $1,296 9 23% 17:1 N/A yes yes yes
3 Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus Roswell, NM 98.96 $1,536 9 32% 13:1 N/A yes yes yes
4 San Juan College Farmington, NM 98.86 $984 9 25% 16:1 N/A yes yes yes
5 New Mexico State University-Dona Ana Las Cruces, NM 98.73 $1,776 7 7% 21:1 N/A no yes yes
6 Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque, NM 97.27 $1,200 7 13% 23:1 N/A yes yes yes
7 Clovis Community College Clovis, NM 95.73 $1,008 20 5% 16:1 N/A no no yes

Online Colleges in New Mexico: Selecting the Best Option

Every college is going to have something that sets it apart. Maybe students are looking to earn a specific degree online, or maybe one college is offering much more affordable rates than another. With this in mind, we asked students what their biggest questions were when it came to determining the best option, and these are the questions they asked:

I want to apply transfer credits and work/life experience; Which New Mexico colleges accept these?

If you are transferring from one New Mexico college or community college to another, there are some courses that will be transferrable no matter what. The General Ed Course Core Transfer Curriculum shows which courses and classes are going to be transferrable and how many semester hours can be transferred in a specific field. It is state law that New Mexico institutions allow these credits to transfer from one institution in state to another. For other transferrable credits, each college and university determines their own transfer standards.

Students transferring from outside the state of New Mexico still have the opportunity to keep some of the credit for classes they’ve earned. For example, New Mexico State University not only accepts transferred credits, but they also accept military transfer credits. Other schools accept life and work experience and turn it into an equivalent amount of credit. Central New Mexico Community College’s Credit for Prior Learning program is an example of how students can transfer experience into colleges.

Do I have to choose an online college in New Mexico if I’m a state resident?

While studying at an online college in state is an option, residents can study at any online college in the country that they qualify for. Also, many online colleges offer in-state tuition to students regardless of their residency.

What’s the best way to choose an online college in New Mexico?

he first step to picking the right online college in New Mexico is to find a program that both offers what you want to study and is within your range of affordability. Applying for financial aid early on is important since it will give students a better idea of how much they can afford. From there, they should begin researching program that fit in their price range and offer a program that they’re interested in. If a student is planning on studying in New Mexico, there is a free resource that prepares students for everything they need to know to get started.