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Editorial: CNM reaches pinnacle in national degree rankings

For many New Mexico students, success is spelled CNM.

Central New Mexico Community College is being recognized nationally for the number of associate degrees it awards to minority students.

According to just released rankings from Community College Week, a publication that covers community college news, CNM, the state’s largest institution of higher learning by enrollment, ranked No. 1 for conferring associate degrees on Native American students, No. 2 for associate degrees earned by Hispanics and No. 4 for associate degrees awarded to minorities overall.

The two-year institution also was ranked No. 6 for associate degrees awarded overall in all disciplines and No. 3 for two-year certificates earned in all disciplines. The rankings were among 1,100 community colleges across the country.

CNM awarded 4,974 associate degrees in 2014-15, a 56 percent increase from the 3,179 awarded in 2013-14, according to the college. That is one of the largest percentage increases from the previous year in the country, a CNM news release said.

The 333 associate degrees awarded to Native Americans in 2014-15 represents an 87 percent increase from 2013-14, and the 2,172 degrees earned in 2014-15 by Hispanics is a 68 percent increase over the previous school year.

CNM officials attribute these successes to initiatives the college has taken, such as making scheduling changes, lowering the number of credit hours it takes to graduate and providing more targeted support for students.

The results are impressive. And they show how important CNM is to the New Mexico community by increasing the numbers of people who are better equipped to enter the workforce or to go further with their education.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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