Until as recently as 2006, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) was known as Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI). The change in name was necessitated by the desire of the college board to show that what had began as a regional vocational institute had developed into an institution capable of delivering quality educational services not only regionally but also nationally and to also reflect its growth into a community college. The institution started as a trade school in 1965 with the stated aim of providing marketable skills to adult learners. Beginning with a class of 150 students, TVI expanded quickly and in 1979 obtained legislative approval to become an independent school.
The college obtained its accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1978 through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).
In addition to a wide variety of in-person learning options, the college also runs a comprehensive distance learning program. Students under this program can opt to take their full courses online or choose between either the Blended Course (majority of whose content is delivered online except for exams, presentations and orientations), or the Hybrid Course which features a combination of both online and on-campus instruction.
Under the School of Adult and General Education (SAGE), introductory courses are offered in various subjects including math, English, computer basics and accounting among others. The college’s School of Applied Technologies offers over 40 Certificate and Associate Degree programs in diverse areas including manufacturing, construction, design and transportation. In total, the college has over 100 certificate and degree programs covering such areas as communication, information technology, business, wellness and public safety as well as science and engineering.
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General admissions are non-competitive. However, different programs have varying admission requirements and it would be advisable to obtain this information from the specific program administrator.
The college operates an open admission for students aged 18 years and over. Students below 18 are also considered but they have to fulfill specific requirements. A student under 18 qualifies for admission when he or she is the holder of a high school diploma from a recognized U.S. high school or a foreign school or has fulfilled the college’s requirements for a home-based high school program. Moreover, admission is greatly facilitated when the student has a General Education Development (GED) diploma.
Students meeting these conditions are allowed to apply as beginning freshmen. To apply for admission to any of the degree programs, it is not mandatory to declare a major. For international students, it is important to note that the college does not issue student visas but international students who have approved visas could qualify for admission
To qualify for financial aid students must meet certain conditions. The quality of a student’s grades is assessed under the Qualitative Progress program to determine who qualifies for financial aid. The college requires that an applying student maintains a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. To assess this, the student’s academic transcripts are reviewed each end of term and this determines eligibility for the following term. School attendance also influences financial aid and an applying student is required to complete 66.67 percent of the course work attempted at the college. Completed courses exclude all the courses from which the student registered but later withdrew as well as the courses in which the student failed and those that are on-going at the time of application.
When a student fails to meet the qualitative and completion rate requirements, he or she is placed on financial aid probation. While aid is still offered during the probationary period, the student risks getting suspended from receiving further aid when the terms of the probation are not fulfilled.
Additionally, financial aid is only available to U.S. citizens and certain eligible non-citizens. The course a student undertakes must also be determined to have the ability to benefit the student for the student to qualify. As a consequence, not all courses are eligible. Only students who declare an eligible major can qualify. For this reason, apprenticeship classes and GED courses are not eligible. To guarantee that available aid reaches those in honest need of it, it is also required that the applicant clears any preceding federal educational loans and those who have defaulted on such loans are disqualified.
Financially challenged students also benefit from the CNM Foundation. The foundation was established in 1992 and has been receiving donations and gifts on behalf of the college which are then used to offer financial assistance to needy students. Some of the partners who have offered assistance to the foundation include the Bank of America and the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union.
Student life is vibrant as the students get the opportunity to not only pursue the careers of their dreams but also to play an active role in the management of college and student affairs. Students actively participate in the administration of the institution through the Executive Council of Students (ECOS) which is mandated to present issues affecting students to the college’s administration and staff. In addition to networking with similar bodies in other colleges and universities, ECOS also develops and implements programs that facilitate student success and plays a significant role in searching for financiers of student scholarships.
Whether a member of the executive council or not, every student has the opportunity to contribute ideas to the running of the college through the Chronicle – the independent newspaper published by the students. Contributions to the newspaper could be on any subject of interest to the college community. The Chronicle is available online and is published several times during the year.
The list of clubs and organizations that students can join is rather long. One such club is the Artworks Art Club whose stated aim is to enrich the college community via the expression and appreciation of art. The Shooting Club has the stated objective of educating the students, staff and faculty on issues such as firearm safety, the legal issues surrounding firearm possession and use as well as monitoring those who could be interested in competitive shooting. Other notable clubs and societies include the Foot Bag Club which educates members about this competitive sport and the Green Builders whose objective is to offer education on sustainable building practices.
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Students have an opportunity to interact with future employers and to feel the pulse of the industries they will be working in by joining societies such as Skills USA – AT (applied technologies) and Skills USA – BIT (business and information technology). In addition to enhancing employment prospects, membership with such societies greatly improves a student’s leadership and social skills. In summary, the diverse number of clubs and societies available means that every student will have something of interest to pursue outside the regular academic program.
Students are also prepared for community service through various programs that have been developed in response to specific community needs. The college has developed certificate and degree programs that specifically address the needs of the New Mexico economy. The college does this through the Center for Community Programs and Partnerships (C2P2) which over the years has been the recipient of various awards. Some of the associations which have honored C2P2 include the American Association of Community Colleges and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
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