El Paso students commute to NMSU as more affordable option


Mitchell Allred

Many NMSU students commute from El Paso, Texas, 43 miles away.

For some students at New Mexico State University, commuting from nearby El Paso, Texas is a more cost-efficient way for them to earn their degree. 

Jordan Peña, a junior at NMSU studying Criminal Justice explained that commuting to NMSU from El Paso is more efficient for him financially than living on campus. Students who live in dorms on campus must cover the cost of dorm itself and a meal plan. 

“Living in the dorms is expensive because you have to pay for food,” Peña said. 

Peña said that he tries to schedule his classes to make the least number of trips up to Las Cruces as possible. 

“I usually try to set up my classes for Tuesdays and Thursdays and take online classes too.”  

Peña lived on campus previously and explained that he used to go to all the NMSU sporting events. Now that he is commuting over 20 miles, he doesn’t go to as many events or activities to avoid “unnecessary trips” to and from Las Cruces.   

“No more than twice-a-week do I want to be driving down there just because of gas prices right now,” Peña said.  

Peña explained that he has a set routine so that he has a bit of “wiggle room” to get through the traffic of El Paso and into Las Cruces for school. Still, he has been late to class in the past due to being caught in the unavoidable El Paso traffic.  

Peña drives a Honda Civic which is very gas efficient, but with the amount of driving that he does commuting, he said he “usually has to fill up about once a week.” This helped him calculate the difference in expenses for commuting versus living on campus.  

Miranda Reyes, a freshman at NMSU studying Nursing will be commuting for her first year to the NMSU campus from Anthony, a 22-mile drive.  

Being a freshman, commuting over 20 miles for school is new to Reyes. Adjusting to her first week at NMSU, she is still learning how early she needs to leave before her classes start to find parking and still make it to class on time.  

“I leave the house about an hour and a half early, because it’s hard to find parking and get through the traffic.”  

Reyes also said that she enjoys the 30-minute drive home to relax from the long workday and focus on her upcoming plans.  

“On the way back to home, I think about all the things I need to do and then when I get there it’s easier to just get everything done,” Reyes said. 

Peña says that there are pros and cons to commuting to NMSU. Pros include less money spent. Cons include the social struggle of only being on campus twice a week and therefore not being able to interact with the friends he has made in Las Cruces. 

“Socially, it does kind of stink because I don’t get to hang out with my friends as much that do live on campus or are up there on campus…I definitely don’t go to any more sporting events.”  

Peña recommended commuting if it is the more cost-effective option for the individual. 

“Definitely if you are able to commute and save yourself some money, I would recommend commuting,” Peña said. 

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