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Students 55 or older to get discount at Northern New Mexico College

December 22, 2018

In an effort to attract more students over the age of 55, Northern New Mexico College will offer a tuition discount.

Starting with the spring 2019 semester, students 55 and older will be allowed to take a three- or four-credit class for $150, all fees included, a savings of at least $50 and a potential discount of 75 percent.

College President Rick Bailey said the main goal is to “introduce or reintroduce adult learners into adult education.”

“I love the idea of an abuela taking classes,” he said. “For her grandchildren who are not sure there is a pathway to college, she is going to be a powerful role model. She can open the door to college for them.”

He said the school’s director of marketing, Sandy Krolick, came up with the idea earlier this year as a way to attract a subgroup of students who may not be thinking of attending college but may want to take an individual course or two to see how it works out.

Even though the school is considered the most affordable in the region, she said, “we know the cost of even one college class can be prohibitive for some people in our community, especially those who are retired or on fixed incomes.”

New Mexico statute provides that seniors 65 and older can take college courses at $5 per credit. Add in student fees and the cost of textbooks, Bailey said, and that three- or four-credit course can still cost up to $200 in some cases.

Tuition for the Española-based college for undergraduate students in the spring 2019 semester is $135.85 per credit hour, plus a $62.70 fee, which adds up to almost $200 for one credit, or $600 for three credits.

The school serves about 1,100 students, 31 of whom are age 55 to 64 and will immediately benefit from the deal for one course per semester, Bailey said.

“In a worst-case scenario, if no new students in that age range sign up to take a class, then 31 students get a break on one class,” Bailey said.

The college was founded in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito. Since then, it has undergone changes in its identity and mission, and it opened a second, larger campus in Española. It has since closed down its El Rito campus, though Bailey and college leaders are still looking for ways to resume programming there. Northern began offering bachelor’s degree programs in 2005.

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