Student Consumer Protection Law in Effect January 1

Stephanie Montoya
Private Colleges Required to Disclose Cost, Debt, and Earnings Information 

SANTA FE, NM – A law requiring private colleges and universities to disclose additional information to prospective students will go into effect this Friday, January 1. 

The Disclosure Requirements for Private Colleges Act requires state-authorized private colleges and universities to provide information regarding the total estimated cost of attendance, and program performance and outcomes such as the median amount of student debt and median earnings of recent students. 

“It is our responsibility to ensure that students have all information at their fingertips to make informed decisions about their education and future,” Acting Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “Our priority is to ensure that all colleges and universities in New Mexico maintain high-quality programs that are adequate and effective to meet the needs of our students and our state.”  

The law also requires schools to post this information prominently on their websites and provide the New Mexico Higher Education Department with a record of the institution’s efforts to inform prospective students. The law aims to help students evaluate the cost of education and the benefit in future earning potential to make sound financial decisions, and to establish realistic expectations and goals in career development. Nearly 10,000 students attended private colleges and universities in the state last year.   

Public colleges and universities are required to share consumer information with students by state and federal law, but no such requirement previously existed for private postsecondary schools in New Mexico. The New Mexico Higher Education Department’s Private Postsecondary Division spearheaded the bill, which was passed during the 2020 regular legislative session. The division works with the 93 private colleges, universities, and vocational schools authorized by the State of New Mexico to provide educational services, and oversees a review committee for the purposes of authorizing institutions and ensuring compliance with state law.  

While students attending private postsecondary institutions may be able to use federal student loans and other private funding sources, state financial aid programs such as the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship are only available at public colleges in New Mexico.  The New Mexico Higher Education Department encourages prospective students to fully research their college options, including cost of attendance, available financial aid resources, career placement rates, and accreditation status.  

For more information about higher education options in New Mexico, visit