An Investment in You

An Investment in You

Southeast New Mexico College recently participated with other community colleges in the state in an economic impact study conducted by Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics. Given the sheer amount of data that must be included, such studies are always a couple years in arrears. The year chosen was 2021-2022, which happens to be when New Mexico State University – Carlsbad became SENMC. While that complicated the process somewhat, we knew it would provide a baseline look at the college upon its founding.

Even in that roller coaster of a year, the results were still impressive. Based on historical data, SENMC students will see an average 20.9% annual return on the funds they spend on their education. This is a stunning figure when you compare it to the 9.6% average annual return over the past 30 years for the U.S. stock market. The low tuition at SENMC, high state support for scholarships, and programs focused on the success of our graduates make for an incredible investment.

The benefits do not stop there. For every $1 spent on the college, the community gains $4.50 in added income and social savings. This results in a total annual impact of $60.3 million for Eddy County, with 599 jobs supported each year. The report notes that this annual economic boost is essentially equivalent to hosting the Major League Baseball World Series, buying 90 new vehicles, and purchasing a year’s worth of groceries for 139 families—combined.

This is all before the move to complete independence was truly gaining traction. At that time, there were services for students, faculty, and staff that were still provided by the New Mexico State University Main Campus. This meant that dollars were being expended on employees in Las Cruces, leading to those funds being put into circulation there. Today that local funding does not flow to a city more than three hours away. It remains here, which means that if the study was completed today, the impact would be even more significant.

In addition, we are deep in the design phase of our Trades x Technologies Building. When construction begins next year, we will see the infusion of construction wages into our region. This will be followed by academic programs in Electrical, Oil and Gas, and Radiation Control, which will enhance the skill sets of employees, both current and future, and establish a base for further economic growth in the coming decades.

The difference in an individual student’s life, however, is arguably more noteworthy. The average associate degree graduate from SENMC will see an increase in earnings of $11,600 each year in their career as compared to someone with a high school diploma. Quality of life generally increases with more education because of the increase in salary, better health outcomes, and the pride that comes with academic achievement.

The change that occurs in one’s life due to education reverberates through the generations. Yes, the dollars and cents matter. Reports such as the one from Lightcast make the case for the importance of our college in the community. But you cannot place a price on a new perspective or an increased thirst for knowledge and excellence. To see the world with new eyes and live a life that is a voyage of discovery, to loosely paraphrase Marcel Proust, is beyond material and temporal value.

The faculty and staff of Southeast New Mexico College live to create such an experience for our students. If you or someone you know are seeking to become more, we hope you will join us for a journey of a lifetime.

Kevin Beardmore may be reached at or 575.234.9211.

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