Northern New mexico College

Northern New Mexico College and its mission have always played an integral role in the State of New Mexico's goal to provide educational opportunities for its residents.

In the early 1900's the New Mexico Territorial Legislature determined that a facility was needed as a “normal school” with a primary function of training teachers for the State's Spanish-speaking population. The Spanish American Normal School at El Rito opened its doors in September 1909, and celebrated its centennial as Northern New Mexico College.

When the New Mexico Territory applied for statehood in 1912, the State Constitution, Article 12, Section 11, identified the Spanish American Normal School as one of ten educational institutions which would be supported by the state. The Spanish American School provided both secondary and post-secondary educational programs.

In 1953, the State Legislature changed the name of the institution to Northern New Mexico State School and, mandating that the institution provide training not available in public schools, implemented a secondary school curriculum. Six years later, the Board of Regents renamed the school Northern New Mexico College. NNMC continued to teach grades 7-12 along with the new college curriculum.

By 1961, the College was offering two-year programs in business education, general studies, and selected vocational programs. Technical-vocational programs proved popular and enrollment increased due to a school-operated transportation system which allowed the population from the surrounding rural villages to attend the school.

In 1969 the high school curriculum was transferred to a newly created public school district and the curriculum at the College was limited to technical-vocational course offerings. One year later, the Board of Regents again renamed the school the New Mexico Technical-Vocational School to indicate the change in course offerings.

Operating under its new name, the Technical-Vocational School expanded its curriculum and faculty, and developed a campus in Espanola, approximately 30 miles from El Rito. The school assumed the Practical Nurse program from St. Vincent's Hospital in Santa Fe. As educational needs in northern New Mexico evolved, educators and legislators identified a need for a more comprehensive delivery of educational services. In 1976 a task force was created whose membership included representatives from the New Mexico Technical-Vocational School, the University of New Mexico, and local school boards and citizens to assess the feasibility of establishing a community college. The task force recommended that the University of New Mexico-Northern Branch (at Santa Cruz) be dissolved and their academic course offerings be combined with those of the New Mexico Technical-Vocational School. The Legislature accepted this recommendation and provided for the expansion of the institution's mission.

The Board of Regents soon accepted the new mission of the institution, renamed the institution Northern New Mexico Community College, and began combining existing programs, philosophies, and procedures in order to establish a comprehensive community college.

The new institution was headed by a president appointed by the Board of Regents. The programs to be offered by the new institution included associate degrees in various academic and occupational disciplines, certificate-granting programs in occupational studies, special interest courses granting continuing education units (CEU's), and other courses offered for no credit.

In 2004, legislative approval and accreditation was extended to Northern, permitting it to be the first community college in the state of New Mexico to offer a four year degree, a BA in Elementary Education.

In 2005, legislation was enacted which permitted the college to offer four-year degrees in any programs deemed necessary and appropriate. Northern New Mexico Community College was renamed Northern New Mexico College.


By the year 2015, Northern New Mexico will be a regionally recognized comprehensive university creating a culture of quality student learning that addresses student and employee needs while maintaining the community college mission.


Northern New Mexico College provides accessible, affordable, community-based quality learning opportunities that meet the educational, employment, and enrichment needs of our culturally diverse region.


  • Northern recognizes that students are the focus of the school and seeks to enhance their skills and self-image in order to help them set and meet realistic career and life goals.
  • Northern believes that educating is holistic and that each student's needs and interests are to be complemented by the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, and administrative structure. In this way, students and staff are integrated in pursuit of education.
  • Northern strives to provide a comprehensive education to all residents of its service area.
  • Northern strives to provide an educational program that reflects the needs of the communities of northern New Mexico.

Statement of Purpose

  • To provide educational programs and course offerings which: lead to two-year degree and certificate programs; transfer to baccalaureate-granting institutions; and meet the needs of students in skill upgrading, job advancement or change, and personal development.
  • To provide academic advisement, personal counseling referrals, placement testing, career guidance, tutorial services, and developmental studies to assist students in achieving their maximum potential.
  • To provide activities and learning opportunities which meet the educational and community service needs and interests of students and the community.
  • To provide opportunities for the intellectual, aesthetic, and cultural needs of students and the community by scheduling activities and services to further those needs.
  • To provide adequate organizational and support services to meet students needs and to maintain integrity and quality in its educational offerings.

Welcome to Northern New Mexico College!

Whether you're a first-year freshman, a transfer student, or an adult juggling work and study, your education at Northern will allow you to reach your career and educational goals and prepare you for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service.

In this section:

The Registrar's Office is committed to providing quality academic services to Northern's students and faculty, including providing content for the college catalogs and course schedules, administering registration for all for-credit classes, maintaining the academic calendar, and certifying the credentials of our graduates. The Registrar's Office also processes and maintains all Student Records, including application files after a student has enrolled, registration forms, changes of major, changes of personal information, grades and transcripts, enrollment verifications, and petitions to graduate. The administrative assistant in the Registrar's Office schedules campus space rentals for non-academic use under the direction of the Office of the President.

The Office of Institutional Research is now housed in the Registrar's Office to better coordinate effective data management for the College.

Anyone who wants to enroll in for-credit classes at Northern must first apply and be accepted before they can register. The best time to apply is at least one month before classes begin.

APPLY HERE for Short-term classes
through December


Degree & Certificate Students: Friday August 12
Non-Degree students: Thursday, August 18

QUESTIONS? The following TO-DO LISTS provide step-by-step instructions and helpful information about the application process:


Northern is an open-admissions college , so you don't need to have minimum ACT or SAT scores to be admitted. But if you are new to college and seeking a certificate or degree, you'll need to take the college's COMPASS Placement Test to determine your appropriate course level and your eligibility for Financial Aid.

If you are a concurrent/dual credit high school student , you will need to take the college's COMPASS Placement Test to determine your appropriate course level.

If you are a transfer student , your placement will be determined by an evaluation of your transfer credits as recorded on official transcripts sent from all of your previous colleges and universities directly to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

If your legal residence is a Western state other than New Mexico and you are interested in an out-of-state tuition reduction, read the WUE Brochure for more information.


Frank Orona , Director of Admissions, Recruitment & Career Services

Jacob Pacheco , Assistant Director of Recruitment & Career Services

Piedad Crouch , Admissions Specialist

Virginia Naranjo , Admissions Specialist



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604-B South Riverside Dr., Espanola, NM, 87532
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