New Mexico State Higher Education and Basic Facts

New Mexico is a desert state in the southwestern portion of the U.S. One of the least densely populated states, New Mexico is home to several colleges and universities offering graduate and undergraduate programs. Read on to learn more about the state's population, economy and school options.

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Information about New Mexico

New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, is a diverse, historical state with a wide range of natural settings, towns and traditional cultures. Lying in the Rio Grande Valley, the historical center of Spanish settlement, New Mexico features a population that is 47.7% Hispanic, according to 2014 U.S. census data. Another 10.4% of the population is American Indian and Alaska Native. As of 2015 census estimates, the state population was nearly 2.1 million. Santa Fe is New Mexico's capital, and Albuquerque is its largest city.

New Mexico shares a southern border with Mexico and an eastern border with Texas. The Four Corners area, in the state's northwestern part, brings together the corners of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. Residents of the state enjoy varied terrain, ranging from a huge area of forests and over 30 state parks to mountains, deserts and lakes. Landmarks include Capulin Volcano National Monument, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Gila Wilderness. The state's largest metropolis, Albuquerque, is a hub for urban amenities and culture. New Mexico's dry, sunny climate attracts new residents from across the United States, particularly from the Northeast and Midwest.

Higher Education

New Mexico is home to 51 institutions of higher learning. The University of New Mexico, a public four-year research institution, is based in Albuquerque and is the largest school in the state with about 28,000 students. It is known for its engineering, MBA and fine arts programs. The school's graduate photography program was ranked 5th by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, and its nurse-midwifery program was ranked 7th.

New Mexico State University's main campus is found in Las Cruces. While the main campus has associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, its four additional campuses are 2-year schools offering certificates and associate's degrees. Central New Mexico Community College is the largest 2-year school with just over 26,700 students enrolled.

Other colleges and universities in the state include New Mexico Highlands University, Eastern New Mexico University and St. John's College in Santa Fe. The Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture is a small, public 4-year tribal college that offers business, Native American studies, writing, museum studies and visual and performing arts programs to its 486 students.

Economy and Employment

Top employers in New Mexico include the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory, UNM Hospitals, and Albuquerque Health Partners. Agricultural products include livestock, hay and pecans, while important minerals extracted from New Mexico mines include uranium, mica and salt. A large number of military bases and other installations also provide many local jobs.

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