Student Q&A | Northern New Mexico College
Question: Why are classes not offered every semester and at times that are convenient for working parents or at least online to accommodate people who are unable to attend the classroom setting? I have found it very difficult and discouraging finishing my degree with Northern. I have been in school for what seems like forever; and then to add to the frustration, every single year I receive a letter from the financial Aid office saying that I have used a certain amount of my allowable financial aid but it seems like every year I am taking classes that are unnecessary and that don't pertain to my degree just to keep my FT student status. This last semester I took two out of three classes that were completely unnecessary just to obtain my part time student status and then the financial aid didn't cover the total amount and was left with an amount due for classes that I didn't even want or need to take. Is this going to continue to be the case for semesters to come?

Thank you for the thoughtful question. You bring up an issue that is very important, particularly for a small college like Northern. Oftentimes, there are a few classes we offer that have very few students sign up for them. We still try to teach as many of those as we can, but if we did that for every class, we would end up driving our costs up to an unacceptable level (meaning tuition increases, etc.)  So we look for other ways to increase efficiencies, and, most importantly, give our students the flexibility they need to complete their educational goals more quickly.

This summer, Northern signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Mexico Highlands University to test a class sharing arrangement. We are testing between 4-6 classes this fall which are traditionally low enrollment for both institutions. Rather than cancelling these classes, we will combine them, so that students will participate with the students from the other institution (through Zoom technology). Northern students will still remain Northern students, and Highlands students will remain Highlands students.

If the test run is successful in the fall, we will expand the course offerings for spring and fall 2019.  This is the first arrangement of its kind in the state, and we are incredibly proud to be innovating in this way.

Also, please contact our advisement center (505.747.2150), so that we can assist with your degree plan.

Question: Regarding "Why Education in the Española Valley is Important for Santa Fe," my question is shouldn't we be more concerned about why Education in Espanola is important for Española and the surrounding communities first before we are concerned about Santa Fe?

Great question. Yes, education in the Española Valley is more important to the valley than anywhere else. Believe me – my heart is here. And I know I speak for our faculty and staff as well. All of our efforts are focused on making a difference here in the valley. In my opinion, however, we need the rest of the state to think – and care – about the success of the Española Valley. The Journey Santa Fe event is an opportunity for us to explain to a Santa Fe audience why success for our students at Northern New Mexico College is actually good for everyone in the state, including its capital.

Question: As a former student of NNMC it has been brought to my attention that the athletic program scholarships are enormous, and it is bothersome that the Native American Communities surrounding NNMC tuition waivers are no longer in place. It seems like this is an injustice to our communities.

Thank you for the question. We do offer scholarships to some student athletes, but they are not as enormous as you think. Some student athlete scholarship money is distributed each year based on need, other funding sources, etc. As for Native American tuition waivers, I am happy to report that we passed a resolution last year with our Board of Regents that allows each of our Eight Northern Pueblo neighbors to select a student each semester (fall and spring), and that student earns a scholarship from Northern New Mexico College equal to full tuition. This is very similar to the program you mention in your question.

We are in the process of putting MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) together with each of the Pueblos who are interested (we already have them in place for Ohkay Owingeh and Nambe, are finalizing one with San IlDefonso, and hopefully will have the others in place by the end of the summer.) Thanks again for the question!

Question: Will the passing grade of  C+ change to a C?

On May 29, Northern's Board of Regents will be voting on the change to the failing grade of  "C- and below" to "D+ and below". If approved, this will be valid only for grades assigned starting in Fall 2018.

Question: President Bailey, What are you going to do for students who travel a big distance and would like to attend Northern. Does Northern provide housing for out of town or out of state students? Thank you

Thank you very much for your question.  Right now, Northern New Mexico College is the only 4-year institution in the state without operational student residences (we do have facilities in El Rito for approximately 100 students, but will need a year or so before those are available again).

The good news is that several potential investors have shown interest in the possibility of a public-private partnership to build student residences on or close to our Española campus.  Our best guess is that we are still about two years away from being able to open a facility like that, but will work diligently to move forward.

In addition, Northern is working on increasing our capacity for distance education.  As the most affordable four-year college in all of the southwest US, we know that we will be an attractive option for those who want quality, fully-accredited programs but have challenges with transportation.  I am excited about the possibility of serving students in Northern New Mexico for whom transportation is a prohibitive factor. I will keep the college and community updated on all of these efforts.

Question: Dr. Bailey, since the number of enrollments have been increasing this past semester, does that mean that there will be a tuition decrease in the near future?

Thank you for the thoughtful question.  It is true — enrollment at Northern New Mexico College has continued to grow over the past two years. This has led us to be one of the only schools in the state not to raise tuition for the FY19 school year. 

We are also exploring a multi-tiered tuition structure, where 1st and 2nd year courses are at a lower tuition and fee structure than 3rd and 4th year. These changes are being considered for the FY20 school year, and we will be looking for input from our students and the public throughout the process.

Let me also say that we take our tuition and fees very seriously.  We continue to be, by far, the most affordable four-year college in all of the Southwest US.  We know we have to stay on the top of that list because of the community we serve.  It is our intention to stay in the number one spot, and we will do everything we can to offer world-class quality, affordable educational opportunities for all of Northern New Mexico.

Choose us for our value, our quality degree and continuing education programs in diverse areas of study, our experienced faculty, and NORTHERN provides students with unique opportunities for academic, personal and professional growth. “You will have personalized attention, something difficult to get at larger colleges. We provide strong hands-on experiences from day one.” –Dr. Ivan Lopez, Dean, College of Engineering & Technology
The Northern Foundation remains committed to stimulate leadership, promote equity, and grow resources and philanthropy in the Española Valley and surrounding rural areas. Over the past twenty years, we have granted $1.3 million to support over 1,250 NNMC students.