Responses Last Confirmed:

New Mexico Higher Education Department

Agency Contact

Pascal Buser, Director of the Private Post-Secondary Schools Division
505-476-8409
Pascal.Buser@state.nm.us

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Maggie Toulouse
505-827-3600
theresa.romero@state.nm.us
Topic:

Types of Educational Providers Authorized

2A1.
Institution Types Authorized – Indicate the types of institutions that your agency authorizes. Please provide a short explanation of any ambiguity in the comment section below

_X___ Public, in-state degree granting institutions

_X__ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions

_X___ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

_X___ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

_N/A_ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions

__X__ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions

__X__ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions

__X__ Non-degree, for-profit institutions

__X__ Religious institutions

____ Tribally-controlled institutions

_____ Federal Institutions

_____ Municipal institutions

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

The New Mexico Higher Education Department has authority to authorize or exempt private postsecondary institutions operating in the state and institutions offering distance education to New Mexico students.

2B1.
Is accreditation required for an institution to be authorized in your state? Yes or No.

Yes. 

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

In New Mexico “State Authorization” means a private post-secondary educational institution has been deemed by the department to satisfactorily meet criteria, as determined by the department, for registration or licensure under the Post-Secondary Educational Institution Act.

All degree-granting institutions seeking state authorization shall be accredited or be seeking appropriate external accreditation.

New degree-granting institutions are required to obtain accreditation within three (3) years from licensure. All registered institutions must be regionally accredited.

The institution's accreditation must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

2B3.
If yes, what type of accreditation is required? Please, check all that apply as appropriate.

Regional Accreditation Required for:

____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions

____ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions

____ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions

____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions

____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions

____ Religious institutions

____ Tribally-controlled institutions

____ Federal Institutions

____ Municipal institutions

National Accreditation Required for:

____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

_X__ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions

____ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions

____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions

____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions

____ Religious institutions

____ Tribally-controlled institutions

____ Federal Institutions

____ Municipal institutions

2B4.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2C1.
Does your agency authorize specific academic programs offered by institutions, only institutions themselves, or both?

____ Institution _____ Program ___X__ Both

2C2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2D1.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions? Yes or No.

Yes. 

2D2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2E1.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement? If so, for which types of institutions?

Yes, an institution accredited by agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education shall adhere to the tuition refund schedule established by the institution's accrediting body or the United States Department of Education. If an institution is not required to adopt a refund schedule policy by an accreditor or the United States Department of Education, the institution shall adopt the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s refund schedule policy. 

Topic:

Exemptions

3A1.
Are certain institutions or programs exempt by law or policy from your state authorization requirements? If so, for which types of institutions? Which types of programs? Please provide web link.

https://ppsd.smapply.io/prog/exemption/

A private post-secondary educational institution with Physical Presence in our State believing it meets the criteria of “Exemption” set out by the Private Post-Secondary Educational Institution Act (Section 21-23-4 NMSA 1978) may submit a Claim for Exemption if the institution is subject to at least one of the following conditions: 

  • a post-secondary educational institution that is established by name as an educational institution by the state through a charter, constitutional provision or other action and is supported in whole or in part by state or local taxation;
  • an occupational, trade or professional school operating pursuant to any New Mexico occupational licensing law;
  • a course of instruction provided by an employer to its own employees for training purposes;
  • institutions that exclusively offer education that is solely avocational or recreational in nature;
  • a course of instruction or study sponsored by a recognized fraternal, trade, business or professional organization or labor union for the instruction of its members;
  • chartered, nonprofit religious institutions whose sole purpose is to train students in religious disciplines to prepare them to assume a vocational objective relating primarily to religion;
  • institutions that exclusively offer instruction at any level from preschool through the twelfth grade; 
  • an institution funded in full or in part by an Indian tribe or pueblo in the state of New Mexico;
  • an organization that provides only brief courses of instruction designed to teach specific skills that may be applicable in a work setting but are not sufficient in themselves to be a program of training in employment.

 

Additional information can be found in 5.100.5 NMAC.

 

Pursuant to the Interstate Distance Education Act, if an institution provides Distance Education to New Mexico students the institution may submit a Claim for Exemption if at least one of the following conditions applies to the institution:

  • the institution is authorized to operate as a member institution under SARA
  • the institution has a physical presence in New Mexico exclusively offering distance education to students located only in New Mexico
  • the department has entered into a reciprocal agreement pursuant to Subsection B of Section 21-23B-3 NMSA 1978.
  • the institution offers distance education courses on a military base or vessel if enrollment in such courses is limited to active and reserve military personnel and their spouse or dependents.
  • the institution has contractual arrangements in New Mexico for course offerings through consortium agreements (for example an agreement between two or more institutions to partner and provide program offerings) and has notified the department of the agreement.
  • the institution is only offering distance education courses as a means of continuing education units and the units meet the criteria set out by the professional organization or authority requiring the continuing education
  • the institution is offering supervised field experience pursuant to the parameters established in 5.99.1.11 NMAC.
Topic:

Authorization of Distance Education

4A1.
Does your agency require purely online programs offered by out-of-state institutions to be authorized without regard to physical presence? Yes or No.

Yes. 

4A2.
If not, does your agency determine whether an institution must be authorized based on a physical presence (“operating”) standard? Yes or No.

Yes

4A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

4B1.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence? Yes or No

Yes. 

4B2.
Clarifying comments:

Yes, all institution offering distance education in New Mexico must be authorized by the New Mexico Higher Education Department or operating pursuant to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

Topic:

Physical Presence Policy - Common Triggers

5A1.
If your agency uses a physical presence standard, how does your agency define physical presence? If available, please provide a link to that policy or a citation to the relevant regulation giving that standard.

Engaging in one or more of the following activities constitutes a physical presence in New Mexico:

  • ongoing occupation of a physical location in the state;
  • maintenance of an administrative office to support the provision of higher education instruction;
  • establishing a physical location for students to engage in educational activity;
  • requiring students to physically meet in a location for instructional purposes more than twice per full-term (quarter or semester) course for a total of more than six hours;
  • establishing an administrative office;
  • providing student support services to enrolled students, from a physical site operated by or on behalf of the institution in the state;
  • obtaining office space for instructional or non-instructional staff;
  • maintaining a mailing address or phone exchange in New Mexico;
  • holding proctored exams on behalf of the institution in New Mexico more than twice per full-term (quarter or semester); or
  • facilitating student participation in off-campus field trips in New Mexico for academic purposes in excess of 20 classroom hours in one sixmonth period or in which the institution establishes a residential or instructional facility in New Mexico.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities, which if conducted by the institution, will not trigger a physical presence in New Mexico:

  • advertising to students whether through print, billboard, direct mail, internet, radio, television or other medium;
  • maintaining a server, router or similar electronic service device housed in a facility that otherwise would not constitute physical presence (the presence of a server or similar pass-through switching device does not by itself constitute the offering of a course or program in the state);
  • having faculty, adjunct faculty, mentors, tutors, recruiters or other academic personnel residing in New Mexico and working from their homes or another private, non-institutional site, provided that such staff is not engaged in activities that would otherwise constitute physical presence;
  • using recruiters in New Mexico if the recruiter has registered as an agent pursuant to Section 21-24-1 through Section 21-21-9 NMSA 1978;
  • independent off-campus study or research by students including, independent fieldwork for a thesis or dissertation, by individual students not engaged in a supervised field experience as defined in 5.99.1.11 NMAC and with no supervision or control by the student’s institution; or
  • facilitating student participation in off-campus field trips in New Mexico for academic purposes, so long as the field trip does not exceed more than 20 classroom hours in one sixmonth period, or the establishment of a residential or instructional facility by the institution in New Mexico.
5A2.
URL for physical presence definition

5.99.1 NMAC - PUBLIC AND PRIVATE POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS OPERATING UNDER THE INTERSTATE DISTANCE EDUCATION ACT:

http://164.64.110.134/parts/title05/05.099.0001.html

5A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Application Process

6A1.
Description – Please provide a short description of the application process to obtain state authorization. If available, please provide web links to the specific references to all applicable state laws, regulations, manuals, forms, or other pertinent docu

Detailed information and application forms can for Licensure, Registration, or Exemption may be accessed at: https://ppsd.smapply.io/

6A2.
URL for application
6A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Fees Associated with Authorization

7A1.
Application Fee – Is there an application fee to initiate the authorization process? If so, what is the fee or fee schedule? Please provide a web link if available.
7A2.
URL for Fee Information
7A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Reporting

8A1.
What kinds of information or data must an institution report to your agency as a condition for continued out-of-state authorization?

Pursuant to New Mexico state regulations, an institution that has been granted New Mexico State Authorization through license, registration or distance education must submit an annual report and shall be charged an administrative fee for filing annual reporting as requested by the New Mexico Higher Education Department. The report includes specific information related to the educational programs offered by the institution in the reporting period.

8A2.
URL for reporting
8A3.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually

8A4.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

Yes, information is included within NMHED’s Annual Report.

8A5.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Consumer Protection and Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

9A1.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

NMHED has authority to help facilitate resolution to student complaints, only after the student has utilized all internal complaint procedures at the educational institution. After receiving a Student Complaint Form, NMHED staff will review the form and attachments. NMHED may contact the student via email for additional information or clarification. If the initial review falls within the purview of NMHED we shall attempt to facilitate a resolution to the complaint by sending a copy of the complaint to the institution against which the complaint has been made. All parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint. Additional information regarding the process is included in the applicable NMAC to the type of authorization held by the institution.

9A3.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

Student complaints from all types of institutions are handled New Mexico Higher Education Department. 

9A4.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

9B1.
Does this complaint process extend to institutions not authorized by the agency that may enroll residents of the state (such as explicitly distance education programs with no physical presence or exempt institutions)?

Yes. 

9B2.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

Alicia Armijo

Constituent Services & NM SARA Coordinator

New Mexico Higher Education Department

2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4

Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100

alicia.armijo@state.nm.us

9B3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Consumer Protection and Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

10A1.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about SARA participating Institutions.

SARA member institutions offering distance education to a student enrolled under SARA, shall be subject to the complaint procedures set out in 5.99.1.19 NMAC and the SARA manual.  New Mexico home state SARA member institutions shall adopt complaint procedures for SARA students to allow SARA students to seek resolution to complaints or grievances.  The SARA member institution shall have and make available to all enrolled SARA students, the adopted complaint procedure that describes in detail, how SARA students may register a complaint or grievance, how the SARA member institution will investigate the complaint, and how the SARA member institution will attempt to resolve the complaint.  Such policies shall at a minimum include the following components:

  • requirement that students with complaints or grievances against an institution first seek to resolve their complaint or grievance directly with the institution;
  • a timeframe within which the institution will investigate and respond to the complainant, pursuant to the SARA manual
  • assurance that the representative of the institution investigating or addressing the complaint will serve as an impartial representative and is not directly involved in the subject matter to which the complaint is related;
  • assurance that no adverse action will be taken against the complainant for registering the complaint; and
  • identification of department as the New Mexico portal entity to be contacted in cases related to complaints resulting from distance education courses or activities offered by New Mexico home state SARA member institutions to students in other SARA states or territories and include the mailing address, website, and phone number for the department and the same contact information for other SARA portal entities.

 

Additional information regarding the policy is provided in 5.99.1 NMAC - PUBLIC AND PRIVATE POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS OPERATING UNDER THE INTERSTATE DISTANCE EDUCATION ACT:

http://164.64.110.134/parts/title05/05.099.0001.html

10A2.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

Student complaints from all types of institutions are handled New Mexico Higher Education Department. 

10A3.
URL for student complaints – SARA participating institutions
10A4.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

Alicia Armijo

Constituent Services & NM SARA Coordinator

New Mexico Higher Education Department

2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4

Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100

alicia.armijo@state.nm.us

10A5.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Enforcement

11A1.
If your agency has written descriptions of the possible consequence of institutional non-compliance, please provide it (or provide a web link).

Institutions that do not comply with state authorization requirements notified by certified mail that they shall cease immediately to offer such until they obtain a license or exemption from NMHED; NMHED shall initiate appropriate legal action if institutions fail to comply; whoever violates any provision of Chapter 21-23-10 of the Post-Secondary Educational Institution Act may be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) per day per violation.

Institutions that do not submit a renewal application, annual report or requested response by or before a listed due date may be assessed up to $500 per day per violation.

Topic:

Records Retention

12A1.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

See 5.5.5 NMAC for provisions for public NM institutions, 5.99.2 NMAC for distance education institutions operating under the Interstate Distance Education Act and 5.100.8 for an institution operating under the Post-Secondary Educational Institution Act.

5.5.5. NMAC

CLOSURE AND STUDENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

http://164.64.110.134/parts/title05/05.005.0005.html

5.99.2 NMAC

CLOSURE OF A DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTION

http://164.64.110.134/parts/title05/05.099.0002.html

5.100.8 NMAC

CLOSURE OR SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE TO LOCATION UNDER THE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION ACT

http://164.64.110.134/parts/title05/05.100.0008.html

12B1.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?

NMHED currently maintains records from certain closed private postsecondary institutions who have operated a physical site in New Mexico. If another institution is named Custodian of Records, the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) maintains contact information of the named custodian and general information of the process for accessing records. The information provided to NMHED is available on the “List of Closed Schools” linked the Closed School Transcript Request website page. NMHED requires a fee for requests.

New Mexico Higher Education Department

Alicia Armijo

(505)476-8411

2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4

Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100

alicia.armijo@state.nm.us

http://www.hed.state.nm.us/institutions/transcript.aspx

Topic:

Additional Information

13A1.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

If an institution is under the jurisdiction of another state entity such as the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, but would also fall under the jurisdiction of New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED), the institution would have to seek exemption from the NMHED licensing or registration requirements.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department through its Boards and Commissions Divisions provide professional licensure and may have jurisdiction over respective programs and institutions offering such programs. At times an institution may be under both, the oversight of New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) and a board. If the institution is offering programs not falling under the jurisdiction of any particular board or commission responsible for the institution’s oversight, then NMHED is the sole regulatory agency. In all cases, an institution operating a postsecondary educational program must be authorized or explicitly exempted by the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

14.
Does your state have a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (or similar fund for school closure)? Yes or No. If Yes, for what type of institutions?

No