Nearly 500 high school students around the state are receiving college credit for courses they are taking at the University of New Mexico. It is an incredible investment for students who want a head start on their post-secondary education.

The students who have received approval to take courses have their tuition paid by the state, books are covered by their school districts. The students are only responsible for course, lab or studio fees.

UNM’s Dual Credit Program is primarily for high school juniors and seniors. Students must attend a public New Mexico High School. The student’s school district must have a signed agreement with UNM that shows the courses have been approved for dual credit for that school district.

In addition, students must have at least a 2.5 GPA. A school guidance counselor or school representative must approve the courses by signing the state form, which will allow the student to be registered. High school students cannot register themselves online.

Students who meet the requirements meet with Dee Dee Hatch Sanders, the program coordinator and advisor for all dual enrollment students. She works with students individually to help them complete the application packet, register and become familiar with resources available through the Dual Credit Program.

Once the student is admitted to UNM, they are required to participate in orientation. The orientation allows the student to become familiar with UNM, get parking passes, a Lobo Card and other valuable information.

The most popular courses are Psychology 105 and Sociology 101, but students also take math, English and foreign languages that are not offered in their high schools. At UNM Hatch Sanders keeps students on track. “We don’t want them to just come in and pick anything,” said Sanders. “I tell them this is the core curriculum sheet. We try to pick something from this core and make sure it’s a class that is going to transfer or apply to a degree.”

High school students can’t just register online. They must go through Hatch Sanders who will detail their options. Students who are interested should email her directly at

“We want to make sure they succeed. If they don’t do well, they can’t just all of a sudden go and try to take another class or something like that. It’s reviewed. Even if they don’t know what they want to major in, we try to make sure the courses they take are something they can use in their college career,” she said.

More than 200 students across the state are taking Computer Science for All, a special outreach program in the School of Engineering. Teachers at the local schools teach portions of the course during the school day. This is a special effort to reach students in high schools in Crownpoint and Thoreau who don’t always have access to computers or internet service at home. Some students take courses on the UNM campus but for many choose the online classes to better fit their schedules.

UNM wants to expand dual enrollment to other school districts, but the program is carefully controlled so it won’t compete with course offerings already available in the school districts. Hatch says it is especially helpful to rural districts that might not have teachers for specialized math courses or courses outside the main high school curriculum.

For more information, visit dual credit advisement.