New Mexico: The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment

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New Mexico Must Improve College Participation and Credential Attainment Rates to Remain Competitive


  • To remain globally competitive, the U.S. and each state should ensure that at least 60% of adults ages 25 to 64 have an associate or bachelor’s degree by 2025. In New Mexico, the current rate is 33.1%.
  • New Mexico ranks 9th among 50 states in the size of the credential increase it needs to achieve annually. To meet the 60% goal, it will need to produce an additional 208,467 degrees by 2025.
  • By achieving rates of the top-performing states, New Mexico can produce about 56,000 bachelor’s degrees, 81,000 associate degrees and 53,000 certificates by 2025.


Meeting Top Performers Produces Significant Personal Economic Return


Per capita income increases when the state meets top performers


  • Under current postsecondary investment patterns, annual personal per capita income in New Mexico is projected to decrease by about $20 in 2025.
  • By meeting the top performers, annual per capita income would increase significantly more, by approximately $1,200 in 2025.



Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Economic Returns to the State

Status quo produces negative returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, New Mexico’s state revenues will decrease by about $4 million in 2025.

Meeting top performance pays off

By meeting the top performers, New Mexico will generate more annual revenue, topping approximately $275 million in 2025.

State Revenues Exceed Costs When Top Performance is Met

Status Quo: Costs exceed revenues

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, New
Mexico’s postsecondary costs exceed state revenues by about $10 million by 2025.

Top Performance: Revenues and costs increase

Costs exceed revenues by about $50 million in 2025 primarily due to the state’s very low income taxes.

This analysis was prepared using the CLASP-NCHEMS Return on Investment Dashboard tool.  See