Statewide Higher Education leaders convene for inaugural summit

Anne Maclachlan


SANTA FE – More than 200 participants from 27 New Mexico colleges and universities convened in Albuquerque on April 30 and May 1 to discuss best practices within the administrative and financial areas of higher education. Topics included how higher education institutions can assist students through the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, managing and collecting data, capital funding and project management processes, working with tribal colleges and universities, and supports for adult education and literacy programs.  

“Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and I have made investing in the prosperity of New Mexico our top priority, and that means empowering every New Mexican today to pursue an affordable and high-quality higher education. We are building out great training opportunities for young people to get the skills needed for high-wage jobs, not dead-end ones. The Higher Education Technical Summit demonstrates how effective we can be in meeting those goals when we collaborate — administrators from all of our higher education institutions, tribal colleges and universities, adult education programs, workforce and literacy programs, state partners and policy leaders. We all succeed when New Mexicans can make the most of their lives, their talents fully employed,” said Lt. Governor Howie Morales. 

An expansion of previous spring trainings hosted by the New Mexico Higher Education Department, the event featured presentations for higher education leaders and administrators. In addition to training sessions offered by other state partners, including the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, and New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation. Additionally, Neil Skiver, President of LVL Finance, LLC, presented a session about “How the Inflation Reduction Act Benefits New Mexico Public Higher Education,” a topic that supports Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's initiatives for addressing sustainable infrastructure. 


“The New Mexico Higher Education Department is dedicated to student success, academic progress and institutional support. The Higher Education Technical Summit solidifies that dedication through mission-critical trainings in these areas for higher education and adult education leaders,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez. “We are excited about the rapid expansion of this summit and representation from every corner of the state. The fact that participation in the inaugural summit was so high demonstrates a statewide commitment to ensure students prosper in New Mexico.” 

Higher education professionals participated in the summit to also learn about bills passed during the legislative session and changes to both the Opportunity and Lottery scholarships. Adjustments to the scholarship programs included eligibility criteria that provide more flexibility for students to meet credit hour requirements over a full academic year rather than per semester, and the allowability of the Lottery Scholarship to cover summer classes.

In March of this year, Gov. Lujan Grisham approved a record $1.3 billion to support higher education statewide for FY25, representing a nearly 4% increase from the previous year. The funding includes expanded assistance for proven tuition-free college, loan repayment programs and workforce initiatives. These decisions have increased accessibility to higher education for all New Mexicans, promising a strong and growing workforce as a result.  

Sponsors included Trane and Yearout Energy Services, both of which are committed to supporting sustainable energy and infrastructure. This was the department’s inaugural Higher Education Technical Summit, which is planned to be an annual event.