NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – College attendance is on the rise at some New Mexico schools. Both New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico have recently seen enrollment boosts.

The University of New Mexico (UNM) reports that the fall 2023 incoming class is the single largest first-year class. New first-year student registration is up over 110 students compared to last year, UNM says. As of early September, there are 3,636 first-year students enrolled.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) says its enrollment is up as well, passing pre-pandemic levels. NMSU reports a 3.4% increase in new first-year students, similar to the rise seen at UNM.

“There was severe enrollment loss at the NMSU community colleges during the pandemic,” NMSU Community College Chancellor Mónica Torres said in a press release. “It was heartbreaking to see so many community college students lose valuable educational opportunities to the circumstances COVID dropped in our collective laps. As students and families experience recovered – and continue to recover – from those very challenging conditions, the NMSU community colleges are now experiencing enrollment gains. That is good news for our students and our communities.”

In addition to the end of pandemic-era disruptions, NMSU says scholarship opportunities may have also had an impact on the recent boost in enrollment.

“The Opportunity Scholarship has opened the doors for a whole new group of students whose decision to stop out was related to funding issues,” Marissa Fowler, the associate director of NMSU’s Center for Academic Advising and Student Support, said in a press release. “Knowing they have secured funding to help with their tuition lets them take the nervous leap of returning to school.”