The University of New Mexico (UNM) has announced a new strategic scholarship program, Beca México, which is designed to encourage more students from Mexico to make UNM a first choice for undergraduate and graduate degree study.

Through this program, Mexican nationals admitted into one of UNM’s 200 plus degree programs and on a valid F-1 or J-1 student visa would be eligible to receive a discount on the out-of-state tuition rate. Qualifying applicants would pay approximately 1.5 times the in-state tuition rate, similar to a program already in existence for U.S. students from 14 states within the Western Undergraduate Exchange.

“The nature of higher education today requires institutions to expand beyond their regional strategies and compete on a global scale,” said Chaouki Abdallah, UNM provost. “Attracting neighboring students from Mexico is a natural fit given the strong cultural and historical connections we have to Mexico and its people. This is an important opportunity to nurture greater exchange of ideas between our academic communities and to inspire greater collaboration and understanding.”

UNM ranks in the top 200 universities in the world and is the one of only few U.S. institutions designated as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution in the U.S. and classified as a Carnegie Research University with Very High Activity. Beca México, which will be effective in the spring 2017 semester, represents UNM’s commitment to international education and cross cultural collaboration with Mexico, as it actively seeks to attract talented students from the country.

Since 2014 UNM has operated a joint-initiative in Mexico with the City of Albuquerque—the New Mexico Trade & Higher Education Center in Mexico City—to bolster higher education and economic development initiatives.

Between 2014 and 2016 more than 200 Mexican students and academics participated in UNM programs. Currently, UNM is home to 45 Mexican students for degree study, 27 for Intensive English language study, and 6 for semester exchange in collaboration with Mexican higher education institutions.

"Representation of Mexican students in our international student population is relatively low when you consider our proximity to the country and the higher levels of enrollment at other institutions in the state,” said Nicole Tami, executive director for Global Initiatives. “Beca México demonstrates our on-going commitment to collaborating with our neighboring country and is a good opportunity for UNM.”

Overall, UNM hosts more than 1,800 students and scholars from approximately 100 countries around the world.

“Diversity is one of our strengths as an institution. When people come to our campus, whether it is for intensive-English, professional development, faculty research collaboration, or degree study, they will have a truly global education experience. Our multi-cultural history and commitment to active international partnerships makes UNM globally relevant,” said Abdallah.

UNM joins several institutions in the region who are expanding their global reach through these incentive scholarships such as New Mexico State University and the University of Texas-El Paso. Programs like Beca México have garnered interest and support from government officials as there is a push for public institutions to diversify its student enrollments in the age of declining state support for higher education. The value of attracting more international students to New Mexico and UNM extends beyond the classroom as it also drives economic growth and activity.

According to the Institute for International Education, in 2015 international students in New Mexico infused approximately $80.6 million into the state economy. With New Mexico ranking #41 nationally for international enrollment there is much opportunity for UNM to grow its population.

Recently, UNM announced Beca México and an additional scholarship opportunity at an open house for alumni, partners, and friends in Mexico City, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad or IME Becas scholarship for intensive-English language study.

A collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque, the IME Becas program will support students who wish to enhance their English language level as a pathway to degree study in English. Over 80 alumni, partners, and friends attended the open house on Dec. 6, demonstrating the positive enthusiasm and interest for UNM’s expanded outreach in Mexico.

For more information contact Danielle Gilliam at the UNM Global Education Office at or 505.277.6051.