New Mexico has four major state universities, as well as several private and community colleges, located throughout the state. The New Mexico Higher Education Department oversees laws, rules, and finances of these colleges and universities. Recent initiatives of the higher education department include writing a new funding formula for higher education that rewards institutions for their outcomes rather than costs. Through this, the board’s goal is to encourage schools to close the achievement gap, grant more certificates and degrees in general, and graduate more students in science, technology, engineering, health, and mathematics fields.
New Mexico is also a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a 15-state commission working to boost access to higher education for students in the West. Through this membership, the state has worked to accelerate the adoption of technology-enhanced teaching and learning practices in higher education, as well as reduce tuition rates. Through just one of the commission’s programs, for instance, New Mexico students have saved $61.8 million since 1988. New Mexico has also participated in WICHE initiatives related to distance education and workforce development.