Best Online Colleges in New Mexico for 2020

Named The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is a state of curiosity and legend, dominated by mountains and deserts. As part of the Spanish Conquest, then of Mexico, New Mexico has the largest proportion of Hispanic and Latino residents in the US, nearly 50% of the population, and the state’s roots in southwestern culture are deep. To meet today’s needs, many of New Mexico’s universities and colleges have spent the 21st century building world-class online degree programs.

With a well-established public higher education system including the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University, New Mexico has an excellent infrastructure in place for preparing professionals, technicians, and researchers for the needs of an economy led by the petroleum and energy industry, and by the federal government, especially the military. But New Mexico is also large, with many remote and rural communities and citizens, making education challenging in many practical respects.

Ranking the Best Online Colleges in New Mexico

Value Colleges is highlighting the Best Online Colleges in New Mexico, with institutions bringing online education to working adults and distance learners of all kids. Our commitment is to point prospective students to only regionally-accredited, reputable colleges and universities. Schools are presented by number of programs.

1. Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University is clearly one of the best online colleges in New Mexico with over 30 online degree programs. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration (eight concentrations), career and technical education, physical education (sport and recreation management), communicative disorders, nursing, social work, criminal justice, history, religion, sociology, Spanish, computer science, electronics engineering technology, and industrial math and statistics.

The Office of Distance Learning at Eastern New Mexico University focuses on enabling online education through technology. Students have access to online resources such as a library service, a writing center, free tutoring, and an online counseling program. Online courses are available 24/7, so students can complete their work on their own schedules. However, students are encouraged to make every effort to stay on track, since it can be difficult to catch up if they get behind. Eastern New Mexico University has a dual enrollment program that allows students to earn college credit while still in high school.

Number of Online Programs: 45

2. Western New Mexico University

Next on the list of online colleges in New Mexico is Western New Mexico University. This school has 15 online bachelor’s degree programs: business administration – marketing, criminal justice, chemical dependency, elementary education, early childhood education, general business, English, interdisciplinary studies, history, psychology, nursing, secondary education, rehabilitation services, special education, and social work.

At Western New Mexico University, online students get special attention. With a student-faculty ratio of just 18:1, students have no trouble getting individualized attention when they need it. The school also provides online advisors and around-the-clock online tutoring services. The classes are flexible enough to fit around students’ busy lives, and students can even design their own degree to fit their specific career goals. WNMU’s in-state tuition rates are among the lowest in the US, and they offer a tuition guarantee.

Number of Online Programs: 15

3. New Mexico State University

With a dozen bachelor’s programs to choose from, New Mexico State University earns its spot among the top online colleges in New Mexico. Students can choose from business administration (general business, marketing, or information systems); criminal justice; gender and sexuality studies; geomatics; family and child sciences; hotel, restaurant, and tourism management; public health; information and communication technology; sociology; and nursing (RN to BSN). Some of these are degree completion programs, which require two years of previous college coursework.

At New Mexico State University, online courses have the same content and objectives as on-campus courses. Some students feel that online courses are more challenging because it requires self-discipline to do the work on time without set course times. Students should plan to set aside 7-10 hours per week for each course that they take. NMSU is a top-tier research university and a NASA space grant college.

Number of Online Programs: 12

4. University of New Mexico

With several online bachelor’s degrees to choose from, the University of New Mexico is also one of the top online colleges in New Mexico. The school offers online bachelor’s degrees in business administration, intercultural communication, Native American studies, nursing (RN to BSN), radiologic science, journalism and mass communication (strategic communication), chicana and chicano studies, interpersonal communication, liberal arts, psychology, and technology and training.

Flexibility is key at the University of New Mexico Online. Students enjoy the freedom to decide when, where, and how they will learn. UNM’s Managed Online Programs are designed with flexibility in mind. Courses are offered in an 8-week format with multiple start dates. Online courses are taught by on-campus professors and receive the same high-quality education, just at a faster and more flexible pace. UNM has a flat tuition structure for its Managed Online Programs. The tuition is the same no matter where you live. Even international students pay the same rate.

Number of Online Programs: 12

What is the Value of Online Colleges in New Mexico?

Online colleges are particularly important in New Mexico. Of New Mexico’s 33 counties, six are rural and six more are mostly rural. With that higher-than-average percentage of rural areas, rural citizens need access to quality education that’s close to where they live and work. New Mexico online colleges offer flexible schedules for classes, so students can take courses and earn degrees where and when it’s most convenient for them.

Non-traditional students face challenges as adults returning to college. They have full-time jobs, families, and other demands on their time and resources. New Mexico online colleges offer programs that may count work or life experience toward college credit while supporting the unique and evolving demands these students face. Approximately 29% of the New Mexico residents currently have some college, and 40% current job openings demand college experience. 

With such a high and continuing demand for an educated workforce, the value of an online college education continues to increase in New Mexico. Its relatively low population is combined with the stellar quality of employers in the state, with everything from the federally funded research facilities and aerospace and aviation industry, semiconductors and electronics, with Microsystems and nanotechnology. With more than 300 days of sun every year, New Mexico is also known for solar technology and renewable energy. 

What Kinds of Degrees Can I Earn Online in New Mexico?

Students have the opportunity to earn everything from an associate’s, bachelor’s, and even a doctorate degree by taking courses toward online degrees in New Mexico. Online study and degree opportunities range from programs that are 100% online-focused to hybrid opportunities. Some of the most popular degree programs are in Criminal Justice, Nursing, Business Administration, and Sociology. New Mexico online degrees are a flexible and affordable option. As part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), New Mexico has 40 colleges and universities available, with a number of distance learning options and online degrees in New Mexico. At those educational institutions, students can access some 268 Associates, 170 Bachelors, 193 Masters, and 9 doctoral New Mexico online degrees. 

The New Mexico Learning Network (NMLN) works to connect students and educators throughout New Mexico. The goal is to promote and better facilitate e-learning via online and distance learning platforms with educational opportunities across 20 colleges and universities. It supports the needs of K-12 students, as well as government agencies and workforce development. The focus is not just on online colleges, but much more comprehensive as it encompasses high-school and GED coursework, professional training, and vocational coursework. It’s of enormous importance to those students in rural and underserved populations as it continues to develop and support the framework for advancements in careers and socioeconomic situations. 

How Can I Save Money on an Online Degree in New Mexico?

Students are already familiar with online education options since there are also online high schools in New Mexico. NM online colleges support a range of options that save students time and money in the pursuit of degree options. As residents, New Mexico students pay in-state tuition. The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship pays a portion of the tuition costs for eligible students, which includes courses via online colleges in NM.

It’s usually economically advantageous for students to start an online degree program at a community college. The student can get all the General Education coursework out of the way, and even work through many of the prerequisites toward an online degree program in NM. Students can explore options for lower-cost regional public institutions. By comparing the online degree options, and syncing the options with the degree requirements, students are able to easily achieve their educational goals. 

Financial aid is often an option for students who are looking for ways to pay for degree programs via online colleges in NM. Whether it’s a loan, a grant, or a work-study situation, financial aid allows students to pursue the degree options they need to pursue their career advancement. Additional grants or loans are also available to students in degree-specific situations, but there are also options for students who meet the requirements for target demographic and socioeconomic conditions. 

For those who are not eligible for the most common types of financial aid, there are also options via Employer reimbursement. When a student is pursuing a degree, it’s often intended to support growth and development in their current career field. Some employers offer reimbursement programs to their employees. So, the employee takes the courses and pays the cost for tuition and books, but then the employer pays the student back for either a portion of the educational fees and costs or they may reimburse the full amount. Some employers also offer their employees the option of taking the coursework during work hours, which means they are being paid for regular work hours while they are pursuing their degrees.

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