New Mexico’s Best Public Colleges & Universities of 2021

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in New Mexico provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

New Mexico’s Best Public Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in New Mexico

New Mexico has 23 higher learning establishments to choose from, and a tuition range of $1,000–$8,000 in the public sphere makes this state one of the most affordable in the nation. The University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque, has a student population just over 20,000 and an affordable cost of $8,000. The school is known for its health sciences and business programs.

New Mexico also has four tribal colleges and universities, including the largest tribal college in the country, Navajo Technical University. Students can complete programs in animal science, early childhood multicultural education, and industrial engineering. In addition, New Mexico provides two loan forgiveness programs, one for health professionals and one for public service attorneys. Those working in designated shortage areas can qualify for up to $25,000 per year, and attorneys providing service for government, non-profit, or underserved residents may acquire $7,200 per year.

Pueblos, roadrunners, cacti, and the Rio Grande make New Mexico one of the most unique states in the nation. Though its alleged history of UFO sightings is perhaps its most famous draw, New Mexico has another fascinating monument worth mentioning — Capulin Volcano. The peak of this extinct cider cone volcano, which can be reached by car, offers visitors a view of four other states. Students looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in The Land of Enchantment are sure to find interesting activities to do alongside their studies.

Prepare to be enchanted by the higher education options and career prospects that New Mexico has to offer.

What are New Mexico’s Colleges & Universities?

New Mexico’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 7 public universities in New Mexico. The list below of the best public universities in the state satisfies the following three conditions:

  1. It must receive direct funding from the state.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It offers a broad range of bachelor’s degree programs.

How do we determine New Mexico's best public colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Public Colleges & Universities in New Mexico

  1. #1

    University of New Mexico

    #219 institution's historical influence
    #1170 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    Albuquerque, NM

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    What is University of New Mexico known for?

    University of New Mexico’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    New Mexico State University

    #647 institution's historical influence
    #1353 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Las Cruces, NM

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    What is New Mexico State University known for?

    New Mexico State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

    #1962 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/26

    Socorro, NM

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    What is New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology known for?

    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
  4. #4

    Eastern New Mexico University

    #1723 institution's historical influence
    #1212 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    Portales, NM

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    What is Eastern New Mexico University known for?

    Eastern New Mexico University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Medical
  5. #5

    New Mexico Highlands University

    #2347 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    2K

    Las Vegas, NM

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    What is New Mexico Highlands University known for?

    New Mexico Highlands University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Western New Mexico University

    #3803 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    Silver City, NM

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    What is Western New Mexico University known for?

    Western New Mexico University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Northern New Mexico College

    #8118 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Espanola, NM

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    What is Northern New Mexico College known for?

    Northern New Mexico College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

Find the best public college in New Mexico for your interests

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