State Highlights

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

WICHE is closely monitoring the outbreak of “SARS-CoV-2,” and the disease it causes, which has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). To inform and facilitate your response to a rapidly changing situation, WICHE has compiled the following set of resources, which will be updated as new information becomes available.

New Mexico

Year joined: 

New Mexico's students who studied out-of-state saved $9.9 million through WICHE Student Access Programs in 2018-19.


  • Thousands of students from New Mexico have attended undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in other Western states through WICHE’s Student Access Programs, saving millions of dollars, thanks to reduced tuition rates. In just one of the programs, the Western Undergraduate Exchange, New Mexico students and their families have saved $96 million since 1988, when the program was founded. 
  • New Mexico has received funding to be part of numerous WICHE policy initiatives, including those focused on financing and financial aid, workforce policy, and other areas.
  • New Mexico has participated in WICHE initiatives related to distance education, workforce development, and behavioral health.

Programs and Participation

WUE Student Distribution from Alaska

WUE Student Distribution from New Mexico

WUE Student Distribution to New Mexico

WUE Student Distribution to New Mexico

New Mexico is active in all three WICHE Student Access Programs: the Western Undergraduate Exchange, the Professional Student Exchange Program, and the Western Regional Graduate Program. In 2018-19 New Mexico’s students and families saved some $9.9 million. New Mexico saved money, too, through not having to establish and maintain costly programs in a number of areas, including some in healthcare.

Western Undergraduate Exchange. New Mexico students have enrolled in undergraduate programs beyond New Mexico’s borders through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) since 1988. In 2019-19, 850 students from New Mexico are enrolled in out-of-state programs at reduced rates (150 percent of resident tuition), saving more than $6.9 million in tuition and fees – the average student savings amounted to $8,100. In the last 10 years, students have saved $48.5 million

New Mexico benefits from WUE in another way: by receiving students from out of state. New Mexico’s institutions can choose how many out-of-state slots to offer and in which areas, allowing them to make the best use of their resources by accepting students in underenrolled programs. There’s a workforce benefit for the state, too, as students often stay in New Mexico after graduating. In 2018-19 New Mexico received 725 students through WUE.

Professional Student Exchange Program. New Mexico has sent some 1,583 students to professional programs through the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), with students studying in two critical fields: dentistry and veterinary medicine. Historically, some 95 percent of PSEP students return to New Mexico to pursue their professional careers. In addition, in 2018-19 the state received two students and over $37,900 in support fees from other Western states.

95% of New Mexico’s PSEP graduates (2007-16) returned home to practice. New Mexico students are contractually required to return home to practice, or reimburse the funds paid on their behalf, plus interest.
Field # of
New Mexico students
Support fees
Dentistry 29 $759,075
Veterinary Medicine 32 1,036,800
TOTAL 61 $1,795,875

Western Regional Graduate Program. New Mexico’s postgraduates also participate in graduate programs through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), which offers access to more than 700 high-quality, distinctive programs at some 60 institutions in all WICHE states. WRGP programs run the gamut, but emerging social, environmental, and resource-management fields are particular strengths, as are innovative interdisciplinary programs. In 2018-19 New Mexico sent 77 students to out-of-state institutions, while receiving 24.

WICHE’s Added Value

New Mexico gains added value from WICHE’s programs in policy, workforce development, technology, mental health, and other areas.

WICHE’s 9th edition of Knocking at the College Doorreleased in December 2016, projects U.S. trends in high school graduate populations through 2032.

There is an abundance of information on, including the publication and other reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars and presentations, and New Mexico’s state profile, which indicates that:

  • New Mexico is projected to produce 20,200 high school graduates per year, on average, between school years 2012 and 2032. New Mexico high school graduates are relatively the same in most projected years, with a brief new high number of graduates in 2026 being only 5% higher than 2012, before declining 14% by 2032.
  • Non-White public high school graduates are currently about 71% of all of New Mexico’s public high school graduates and will increase to 77% of the total by 2032. 

Policy & Workforce Development

New Mexico has participated in projects supporting better-informed decision-making at the state level. WICHE initiatives have been sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Helmsley Charitable Trusts, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and others.  In addition, WICHE policy experts often visit the state to present or consult on a number of vital issues, including the state’s workforce needs and balancing the financial aid portfolio between grants, loans, and scholarships, as well as between merit- and need-based aid. WICHE staff has worked with the New Mexico Higher Education Department and Legislature to develop an outcomes-based funding structure, including facilitating a retreat in Boulder on funding and accountability processes with business, education, and government stakeholders.

Most recently, WICHE staff has been integrally involved in the New Mexico Department of Higher Education’s efforts to design and adopt a new funding model for the state. WICHE has considerable expertise and experience working with states on such models, which seek to fund higher education institutions for the outcomes they produce (including degree and certificate completions and student academic progress). WICHE’s facilitation of a retreat for senior leaders within the department and among New Mexico’s public institutions and its ongoing involvement in the policy development process has helped the state sharpen its focus on how the policy might best meet its needs while taking into account the perspectives of key stakeholders.

WICHE also seeks assistance and advice from policymakers, educators, administrators, and legislators. WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC), composed of legislator-members from each state—including Sen. Moores, Sen. John Sapien, and Rep. Larry Larrañaga—has been crucial in this regard. The LAC works to keep the commission’s Executive Committee and staff current on significant legislative issues related to higher education, provides input on WICHE initiatives, and advises staff on a host of issues. WICHE staff also serve the LAC by informing members about emerging policy issues in the West.

Regional Academic Leadership Initiatives

New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Western New Mexico University are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum). Their official representatives are the chief academic leaders of the four-year institutions and their related system and state agencies, who address regional higher education issues and engage in resource sharing. The Western Alliance for Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance), brings academic leaders of community colleges and technical schools and systems together with state governing and coordinating boards associated with two-year institutions to exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise, and collaborate on regional initiatives. New Mexico State University Alamogordo and New Mexico Military Institute are members.


Several New Mexico colleges and universities are active participants in the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET is widely recognized as an informative, reliable, and forward-thinking organization regarding the role of technology and innovation in higher education, and includes more than 350 institutions, state and systemwide higher education agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in nearly all U.S. states and many Canadian provinces. WCET members have access to trusted information on emerging trends, policies, and exemplars of successful learning technology innovation in practice. Key WCET activities include an annual meeting, leadership summits, national webcasts, the popular Frontiers blog, issue briefs, and email list-based discussions among members. Major topics of interest to the WCET membership include student and faculty success, the Internet of Things, managing e-learning, emerging technologies, broadband and learning innovation, and evolving policy issues.

Mental Health

WICHE has been engaged in a workforce-focused series of projects in New Mexico, beginning with a comprehensive behavioral health workforce study in FY08. WICHE also supported an initiative for Doña Ana County focused on improving community capacity in the area of behavioral health crisis response. 

Other Initiatives

Interstate Passport is a program that facilitates block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes and proficiency criteria. It includes learning outcomes for nine knowledge and skill areas developed by faculty at institutions in multiple states as well as an academic progress tracking system for Passport transfer students designed by registrars and institutional researchers. The goal of the Interstate Passport is to eliminate transfer students’ unnecessary repetition of learning previously achieved.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), SARA is a voluntary, nationwide initiative of states that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The effort initially was funded by $3.2 million in grants from Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is now supported by fees paid by institutions. The initiative is administered by the country’s four regional higher education compacts – the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) – and overseen by The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). States and institutions that choose to participate agree to operate under common standards and procedures, providing a more uniform and less costly regulatory environment for institutions, more focused oversight responsibilities for states and better resolution of student complaints. New Mexico has applied to become a member of SARA.

The Master Property Program (MPP), helps institutions reduce their insurance premiums and improve their coverage. Created by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact in 1994 and expanded to the WICHE region in 2004, the MPP includes more than 160 campuses with total insured values of over $93.4 billion. WICHE is also partnering with MHEC to offer MHECare, a new health program providing vetted, competitively priced medical benefits for students. Underwritten by UnitedHealthcare StudentResources, MHECare offers a variety of plans. In a third collaboration with MHEC, WICHE extends the benefits of MHECtech to colleges and universities in the West enabling them to purchase from competitively bid purchasing agreements to reduce costs on a range of hardware and software products and services.