For those seeking a large university with a vast curriculum‚ there is the University of New Mexico. For those who prefer a smaller environment and a focused field of study‚ New Mexico Tech may be more suitable. Regardless of what a prospective college student might be looking for in higher education‚ Albuquerque and the surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities. The city itself is home to several colleges and universities‚ and others are within an easy drive.
“The three research institutions are all really well represented in Albuquerque‚” says Dr. Beverlee McClure‚ secretary of New Mexico’s newly created Higher Education Department.
Indeed‚ the University of New Mexico‚ the Albuquerque location of New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech in nearby Socorro produce some of the nation’s top graduates in the high-tech fields. The University of New Mexico‚ with a total enrollment of more than 30‚000‚ is located on 600 acres along Route 66. About 80 percent of the UNM students come from a four- or five-county area surrounding Albuquerque.
Albuquerque is also a satellite location for New Mexico State’s College of Extended Learning‚ which provides a variety of educational opportunities beyond traditional campuses‚ classrooms or academic programs. New Mexico Tech‚ which was founded in 1889 as the New Mexico School of Mines‚ specializes in science‚ engineering and technology-related fields of study. With four locations within the city‚ Central New Mexico Community College is New Mexico’s largest two-year school and one of the nation’s largest. It serves as an entry point into UNM for many students.
“Both of those institutions work well together to serve the state‚” McClure says. Students at Albuquerque-area schools come from all walks of life.
“The student demographics of our institutions mirror the demographics of New Mexico‚ and that’s a good thing‚” says McClure‚ who was named the state’s first secretary of higher education in August 2005. “All of [the schools] are working hard to increase not just the enrollment rate of minorities‚ but also the graduation rates.”
New Mexico’s lottery scholarship program‚ which was implemented in 1996‚ has provided students from all economic backgrounds the opportunity to attend state colleges and universities. Under current requirements‚ students must be graduates of a New Mexico high school and go directly to college. They have to maintain a 2.5 GPA for one semester before qualifying for the scholarship‚ which pays the remaining tuition.
“The lottery scholarship has been very successful‚” McClure says. “It has helped a lot of students be able to attend college that wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Find more great reasons to live in Albuquerque, NM.