Why This Matters


    There are over a dozen colleges and universities in New Mexico, including nine public colleges, two private non-profit schools, and four private for-profit options.


    While costs vary widely depending on a college’s size and how it’s funded, the average New Mexico college charged $8,120 in tuition for the 2020-21 school year.


    Students in the U.S. received $14,940 on average in financial aid for the 2019-20 school year to cover expenses such as housing, tuition, food, and textbooks.

Our Research

Our list of the top colleges and universities in New Mexico includes schools of all sizes, offering varied research opportunities, social environments, and academic programs. Along with size, we’ve compared schools based on factors such as graduation requirements, tuition and fees, and whether classes are taken in-person, online, or via hybrid formats.

All of the colleges on our curated list are accredited, meaning that they comply with strict standards related to academic programming, community involvement, and ethical practices. A degree from an accredited college is necessary for those pursuing certain career paths or postgraduate studies. Most colleges in New Mexico are accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, which monitors colleges and provides information on federal compliance requirements for institutions.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 73 hours to write this article
  • 79 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 144 education programs we compared

The Top 15 Colleges in New Mexico

Best Colleges In New Mexico
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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in New Mexico

When deciding where to attend school, prospective students should consider whether the state they pursue their education has job opportunities for them after they graduate. In New Mexico, nearly 190,000 people work in government jobs, making it the largest industry in the state. Other top industries include education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; and goods-producing.

Within these industries, there are numerous fast-growing careers for those with bachelor’s degrees. Between 2020 and 2030, the careers that are projected to experience the most growth include information security analysts, cartographers, and translators.

New Mexico has several large employers that provide job opportunities after graduation. Some of the largest employers include Sandia Corporation, Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque Police Department, TriCore Reference Laboratories, and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

What’s Next?

The majority of New Mexico students receive financial aid to help fund their education. We’ve put together a list of resources that provide information on need- and merit-based scholarships, grants, and student loans.

  • New Mexico Higher Education Department. This department offers informational resources on state financial aid opportunities and provides funding for educational expenses. Through the website, students can learn about programs such as loan-for-service, loan repayment, scholarships, and grants.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application helps the U.S. Department of Education determine whether an individual qualifies for need-based financial aid such as student loans and scholarships. Click here to determine whether you’re eligible to fill out a FAFSA and here to submit an online application.
  • CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides robust information on financial aid options. Visitors can filter their results according to their level of study, the type of award they’re seeking, where they live, and where they intend to study.