Northern New Mexico College is a post-secondary school located in El Rito and Espanola, New Mexico. It offers students the option of pursing two-year and four-year degrees. It offers degree programs in business administration, teacher education, nursing, radiology, biology and engineering. All totaled, Northern New Mexico College offers nearly 70 bachelor’s, associate’s and certificate programs for study.
Northern New Mexico College features two campuses. It features a historic campus in El Rito and a larger campus in Espanola, and nine schools/departments for students to choose from. Those schools are: College of Education, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Business Administration, Department of Career and Technical Education, Department of Developmental Studies, Department of Engineering, Department of Fine Arts, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, and the Department of Math & Science.
The college features a rich history. It was founded in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito, with an original mission to train Spanish speakers to become teachers. In 1977, the school became New Mexico’s first designated community college. It started granting bachelor’s degrees in 2005.
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Northern New Mexico College requires students to apply and be accepted before they can register for classes. It is recommended students apply about one month before classes begin.
Northern New Mexico College is an open-admissions school. Students do not need minimum SAT or ACT schools. However, the school does administer a COMPASS Placement Test to determine course levels and eligibility for financial aid. The school also allows high school students to enroll in college classes, but they, too, must pass the COMPASS Placement Test.
Transfer students have their transcripts evaluated, and transfer credits are accepted based on the transcripts from all colleges and universities.
Northern New Mexico College administers grants, loans, scholarships and employment opportunities for its students. It also allows students who are from Western states other than New Mexico to receive a reduction out-of-state tuition.
Once students fill out the financial aid forms, they are eligible for a number of financial awards. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service and talent. There are also many scholarships available outside the school, including those from the community and local businesses. Some larger scholarships include the Legislative Lottery Scholarship, which helps pays the tuition expenses for New Mexico high school graduates whom plan on attending a New Mexico college or university. The school’s Bridge Scholarship is awarded to New Mexico residents who have a GPA of 2.0 or higher upon high school graduation. The Navajo Nation awards scholarships in both the spring and summer semesters. Finally, the Biology Program of Northern New Mexico College awards $5,000-$10,000 scholarships for students in the bachelor’s of science degree in biology program.
There are about 2,000 students enrolled at Northern New Mexico College each semester. About 74 percent of those students are Hispanic, with males representing about 37 percent of the student body and females 63 percent.
Northern New Mexico College offers students a career services office, a childcare center, a monthly student publication called “Northstar,” and a Student Senate. The school does not offer residential housing anymore except for a few rental apartments.
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Student Graduation Demographics
Northern New Mexico College has a number of intramural sports for students. It also features two sports teams — men’s and women’s basketball.
Northern New Mexico College’s larger campus is located in Espanola, which has about 10,000 residents. About 10 percent of the entire population is ages 18-24. Espanola is known as an outdoor community, with the area featuring an abundance of hiking, biking and river-sport activities, including rafting and kayaking. There are also nearby places to downhill and cross-country ski and snowboard.
The El Rito campus is located in the high desert country of New Mexico. It is surround by the Carson National Forest and mountains. The El Rito campus features a number of unique programs that people come from all over the world to study. Those programs include Adobe Construction, heritage arts, weaving and Spanish Colonial Furniture making. Since the area where the El Rito campus is located is very vast, it is one of the only educational resources accessible to students.
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Northern New Mexico was founded in 1909 after the then-New Mexico Legislature determined a school was needed to train teachers to teach the state’s Spanish-speaking population. The school originally opened as The Spanish American Normal School at El Rito. It has operated as a public school, vocational school and other incarnations during its time, but began offering four-year degrees in 2005.
The school’s American Indian Center is located on the Espanola campus. It includes the American Indians Affairs Office, the Northern Pueblos Institute and Pueblo Indian Studies at Northern New Mexico College. The American Indian Affairs office serves American Indian students needing academic and personal support to enter and succeed in college.
At the El Rito campus, students study adobe construction, southwest building construction, Spanish colonial furniture making, Bulto and Retablo making, fiber arts weaving and dying, tinsmithing, trade woodcarving, and also may attend the Cibola Institute of Language.
Northern New Mexico College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Northern was first accredited in 1982. In 2001, it joined the Academic Quality Improvement Program is is now allowed to offer 13 bachelor’s degrees.
A dining hall is available on the El Rito campus. At the dining hall, authentic Northern New Mexico cuisine is served Monday-Friday. Students are also allowed to request vegetarian and BBQ meals.
Northern New Mexico College also features “Sostenga,” The Center for Sustainable Food, Agriculture and Environment, which preserves the natural heritage of Northern New Mexico through hands-on learning and economic development. The center supports projects that promote sustainable living because healthy food has been a tradition in northern New Mexico. The center hopes to capture the history of the area’s natural agriculture and land-based heritage. There is a natural food co-op in Espanola that works with the center, and another cooperative market in nearby Los Alamos.
23 July, 2011 Northern New Mexico College. Web.
Knoll, John. “First year basketball program takes root at Espanola college.” Santa Fe New Mexican. 8 October 2011. Web. 25 July 2011.