New Mexico

NM HED awards $110.5m in endowments

To address a critical shortage of mental health and behavioral health teachers and professionals, the state Department of Higher Education has awarded $110.5 million to endowments spread across 13 New Mexico colleges and universities.

The endowments include $50 million for educator preparation, $30.5 million for social work and $30 million for nursing support, HED Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said this week.

New Mexico HED Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez (Courtesy of NM Higher Education Department)

The interest generated by investing these principal funds can be used “to recruit and retain top-class professors and researchers in New Mexico,” and to top-up salaries for new or current faculty and students in those fields with the largest need support, she said.

The source of the one-time HED endowments are one-time federal funds earmarked for New Mexico by the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, Rodriguez said.

“Right now, in New Mexico and across the country, we’re seeing gaps in the healthcare workforce, faculty, and our mental and behavioral health workforce, and that’s really been shown during the pandemic,” Rodriguez said.

To receive the cash prizes, HED published a competitive application request, or RFA, which required schools to submit project plans, budgets, and an outline of the scope of their work. The RFA also requested that schools explain how they intend to increase enrollment and the number of graduates in their programs.

“Our agency then convened committees composed of representatives from higher education and other relevant sectors such as healthcare, public education and social work to review and evaluate the proposals and select those that met the criteria for an award,” Rodriguez said .

Based on submissions from all 13 colleges and universities, “we estimate that over 700 new students will enroll in these programs at these New Mexico colleges and universities,” where the endowments will also support 58 faculty positions statewide, she said.

HED Foundation recipients are: University of New Mexico, UNM Health Sciences Center, UNM-Gallup, Central New Mexico Community College, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Northern New Mexico College, Western New Mexico University, Mesalands Community College, Santa Fe Community College, San Juan College and Dona Ana Community College.

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