Higher Education Department and Colleges Work to Improve Student Transfer

First Annual New Mexico Transfer Summit fosters statewide collaboration to make process easier for students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Stephanie J. Montoya
Public Information Officer 
stephanie.j.montoya@state.nm.us

(505) 467-9605

 

April 27, 2022

First Annual New Mexico Transfer Summit fosters statewide collaboration to make process easier for students 

 

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Higher Education Department is working together with higher education partners in New Mexico and nationally to make it easier for students to transfer between public colleges and universities in New Mexico.  

The Department hosted the first annual New Mexico Transfer Summit in partnership with the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College last month to evaluate trends and discuss ways to improve the transfer process.  

“We recognize that for many students, the path through higher education is not linear, and that students regularly transfer between schools for a variety of reasons, such as moving closer to family and moving from a community college to a four-year college or university,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said. “This transition should not be challenging for students, and there are things that we as a state can do to improve the experience, like ensuring that course credits transfer and establishing clearer pathways between programs and higher education institutions. We are committed to continuing to work with our higher education partners to find sustainable, collaborative, and student-centered solutions, and this summit was a crucial step in that direction.”   

Representatives from all New Mexico public colleges and universities and two of New Mexico’s Tribal colleges participated in the event, which was attended by over 250 higher education professionals working in a variety of academic, student services, and research roles. Collaborating with the professionals who work directly with transfer students, the agency is working to identify areas of improvement, such as increasing support for student information systems, designing specific supports for transfer students, and working with students to chart their academic path early on in their academic journey.  

“This is the most elevated the transfer conversation has ever been at the state level, and the event was a great success. We got past the anecdotal conversations and really explored areas that will lead to concrete steps that every institution can contribute to,” said Roberto Vasquez, Summit Co-Chair and Senior Director of Transfer and Pathways at Central New Mexico Community College.  “If we as higher education institutions can take on the leg work, we can greatly reduce time to completion and ease the process for students.” 

“We need to help students set their sights on an end goal and realize that a four-year degree is possible. The work the New Mexico Higher Education Department is leading to focus on transfer in addition to expanding the Opportunity Scholarship is lending to that,” said Laura Valdez, Summit Co-Chair and Director of University Advisement at the University of New Mexico.  “As higher education institutions, I know that we all struggle for enrollment and can be competitive, but this summit showed that collaboration is possible.”  

Unlike many other states that have centralized university systems, New Mexico has 29 independent colleges, universities, and branch campuses, each of which determine standards for admissions and academics at their respective campuses. The New Mexico Higher Education Department and academic affairs professionals are working to streamline processes, improve communication, and help students better navigate through higher education systems.  

Thanks to the collaboration of the New Mexico Transfer and Articulation Committee, the New Mexico Higher Education Department announced last year that credits earned in any general education course at a New Mexico public college or university will be accepted at any public college or university to which a student transfers. The Committee also continues to make progress on completing a statewide common course catalog, which will include all courses offered at public postsecondary institutions. Over 90 percent of lower-division courses have already been catalogued, and career technical education  courses will be considered next.   

Several New Mexico colleges and universities have established transfer agreements, and some two-year and four-year colleges have partnered to create degree programs that help community college students complete a bachelor’s degree with a four-year college or university for the last two years of the program.  

For more information about academic policy initiatives at the New Mexico Higher Education Department, visit www.hed.state.nm.us