SANTA FE — The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) is partnering with the New Mexico Public Education Department, the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, and the state’s public colleges and universities to drive up college applications this November as part of College Application Month.
Public colleges and universities in New Mexico who typically charge fees to submit an application will waive the cost throughout November as part of the joint initiative, although some New Mexico schools do not charge application fees at any time of year.
“We are excited to get New Mexico students and families fired up about applying to college and exploring the possibilities beyond high school or wherever they are in life,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said. “New Mexico is the tuition-free college capital of the nation and we have so many nationally recognized degree and certificate programs that lead to rewarding careers, right here in our own backyard. I encourage any New Mexican who is interested to visit ReachHigherNM.com to get started.”
Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus agreed: “Now is the time for our high school students to share their hopes for their futures with state college and university admissions departments. Fill out those applications. Dream big.”
New Mexico saw the second-highest increase in college enrollment this fall as tuition-free college became available to tens of thousands of students via the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, the greatest number to receive the benefit in state history. The state is hopeful that this trend will continue as more New Mexicans of all ages seize the chance to further their education.
“We really hope that students will take advantage of the free applications this month. The idea is that if students don’t have to pay for the application process, students can apply to more than one institution and find a better fit. A better fit we anticipate will lead to more completions. Having more people graduate with post-secondary credentials whether it be college, university or trade school is the ultimate goal,” Grace Tackman said, Assistant Vice President at the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation.
While students can still apply to colleges and universities in the spring, starting the process in the fall is ideal for giving students and families ample time to research admissions requirements, programs of study, scholarships, and other factors before deciding to enroll. Submitting admissions and financial aid applications early also gives students the best chance at early consideration for admission and certain scholarship programs.
Research conducted by the College Board’s Advocacy and Policy Center found that increasing the number of college applications a student completes from one to two increases a student’s probability of enrolling by 40 percent, with three submitted applications adding an additional 10 percent likelihood of enrolling.
The College Application Month campaign is engaging high school counselors and other partners to work with students and families to research college and career training options and submit applications for admission. Several New Mexico high schools have already hosted on-site application events featuring recruiters from state and regional schools.
“Applying to college can be incredibly expensive for my students. The College Application Month initiative has helped make it affordable by providing fee waivers to schools throughout the state of New Mexico. It has helped open so many doors to students who might otherwise not apply!” Aubree Boivin, a counselor at the Albuquerque School of Excellence.
“College Application Month is more than seniors applying to colleges and universities in our state -This is about creating a college and career readiness culture for our students, K – 12. We have created a toolkit that provides resources, such as posters for social media, door signs for staff, college research/application worksheets, ways to implement the NM Career Cluster Guidebook, spirit week ideas, and much more!” Angelica Delgadillo said, Counselor Liaison in PED’s College and Career Readiness Bureau.
Teachers, leaders, relatives, and other trusted adults are also encouraged to talk to prospective students about why they decided to apply to college, and to share what motivated them via social media using the hashtag #WhyApply. Those interesting in sharing their story to social media can download the template online here, print it out, and upload their photo to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
New Mexicans can search for colleges and universities, find links to applications, and learn more about the New Mexico Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships at ReachHigherNM.com.