New Mexico Department of Higher Education Breaks Down Barriers for Adults with New Policy and Resources

NMHED Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez


SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Higher Education (NMHED) announced that adult learners pursuing high school equivalency (HSE) credentials no longer have to take subject area tests within three years, making hundreds more mature students eligible to graduate from high school.

As a result of the retroactive policy change, 75 new Mexicans who have already passed the GED® exams required beyond the three-year period will be awarded a high school diploma, with even higher numbers expected for students who passed. HiSET® tests. Administrators of adult education programs plan to contact these students to notify them.

“Adult learners are already balancing so much work to earn their high school equivalency diploma, between work, caring for children and family, and studying to pass their tests,” the NMHED Secretary said. , Stephanie M. Rodriguez. “We value all educational and professional backgrounds, and we also understand that life happens. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and our education agency will continue to find ways to break down barriers for new Mexicans.

Previously, students who failed or did not pass all of the required tests within three years had to retake each test. Test fees for the HiSET® or GED®, the two approved high school equivalency tests in New Mexico, can range from $50 to $80 for all required subjects – math, language arts, academics social and science. The tests can take up to eight hours from start to finish and are known to require extensive preparation, which can make it difficult for working New Mexicans to find the time to study and plan test sessions.

“One of the primary goals of adult education in New Mexico is to remove the barriers that keep hard-working adults from wanting to continue their education,” said Director of Adult Education Amber Gallup. Rodriguez of the New Mexico Department of Higher Education. “Whether the barriers relate to internet and device access, transportation and childcare issues, tight finances, or lack of time, we’re doing everything we can to proactively and creatively address them. This change of rule will impact many New Mexicans.

“Removing this time limit provides an invaluable benefit to adult education students. With the dramatic increase in rigor that accompanied exams in 2014, students take about 75% longer to pass all subjects. Eliminating time restrictions helps ensure that students can take the time needed to not only pass the test, but to be properly prepared for post-secondary education upon completion. Students will no longer feel the pressure to “just do it”. They can really learn at their own pace,” said Jamie Trujillo, president of the New Mexico Adult Education Association, who is also program director for the Albuquerque Adult Learning Center.

Governor Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Higher Education are also investing $200,000 this year in test vouchers to further support mature students. Vouchers are available to any New Mexico resident to cover the cost of HiSET® or GED®. More than 800 vouchers were awarded last year. Interested students can complete a request for test vouchers on the agency’s website website.

The state is also investing $160,000 in instructional materials for state-sponsored adult education programs, which provide free test prep, skills instruction, ESL classes and other services. education to adult learners statewide. There are currently 26 partnership programs based at New Mexico colleges and universities, community organizations, and state correctional facilities. Adult education programs served more than 5,000 New Mexicans last year, and 1,873 New Mexicans earned a high school equivalency diploma.

Graduation can lead to a more than 50% increase in wages over ten years, lower unemployment, and lower incarceration rates. Removing barriers to accessing education and obtaining degrees at all levels continues to be a top priority for the Department.

To find an adult education provider and request test vouchers, visit or contact the Adult Education Division directly at [email protected] or 505.660.8824.

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