New Mexico State University makes the Abound’s 2021 Top Grad Programs list


Selema Graham

Abound names NMSU as top grad school

New Mexico State University-Main Campus has been named as one of Abound’s Top Graduate School Programs.  

The 2021 online list consists of top universities in each state that offer graduate programs that have been rigorously evaluated by Abound in four categories: accessibility, affordability, acceleration and advancement. 

According to Abound, they evaluate based on what matters most to students: “flexible classes and services, affordable courses, a range of quality programs and degrees that help students advance in their field.” 

Nathan Lindsay, a master’s student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, said he stayed at NMSU because of the research he was doing, and though he is not a non-traditional student, he does enjoy the affordability and flexibility of classes.  

“The courses are certainly affordable. That is like a huge draw.” Lindsay said. 

Though Abound “measures,” instead of ranking the institutions, they “do best with the understanding that every student will have different needs.” According to Abound, it is not about the “best” school, it is about finding the best fit. 

For non-traditional graduate students like Gabe Doherty, a master’s student in the Agricultural and Extension Education Department and an agriculture teacher at Hatch Valley High School, NMSU’s recognition would have helped narrow a search for schools with flexible graduate programs. 

“For me, it would be important to pinpoint good potential fits and then look at the details (cost, program and flexibility) before making the final decision,” Doherty said. “Working full time poses its own challenges of making time for graduate school!” 

Abound’s list selects the top 15% of institutions based on holistic grading criteria. According to Abound, they want all students to have an equal variety of institutions to choose from through a more representative distribution of school locations, school sizes, religious affiliations, public schools, private schools and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school, said the university is excited for the recognition because it focuses on non-traditional students.  

“This is a different recognition than the traditional [one]. It reflects the fact that this university has made a commitment to provide access to graduate programs to all students,” Cifuentes said. 

Cifuentes said he hopes students recognize that the university is willing to make graduate education available to everyone. 

“This university, as a land grant institution, continues to be committed to educate all in the state who wish to be educated at the graduate level,” Cifuentes said.

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