Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University ranked number one among New Mexico universities for career outcomes for its graduates and affordability, according to the nonprofit Educate to Career.

The Educate to Career College Rankings Index 2016 analyzed employment outcomes and other measures such as student loan debt for graduates of 1,182 accredited four-year colleges nationwide.

“I congratulate New Mexico Highlands University for earning a Best-Value Top-College designation for its ranking of 196 out of the 1,182 colleges in our ETC College Rankings Index,” said Michael Havis, president and founder of Educate to Career. “At ETC we’re advocates for students graduating from college and getting good jobs in their fields without the burden of crushing debt from student loans.”

The Educate to Career index also ranked Highlands fourth for its graduates’ career outcomes among four-year colleges in a region that includes New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah and Nevada.

Havis said the index quantifies each college’s labor market outcome for its graduates, with emphasis on workforce preparedness, improved earnings, and employability.

“We developed the College Rankings Index so prospective college students and their parents can identify schools like Highlands that provide a quality education with proven career placements, and at the lowest possible cost,” Havis said.

His California-based nonprofit uses extensive data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and National Center for Education Statistics to develop its index.

Some of the measures analyzed include percentage of graduates employed in occupations that use their field of study, salaries earned by recent graduates, percentage of graduates employed within one year of graduation, student loan default rates, and university tuition rates.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Highlands has one of the lowest tuition rates in the United States.

The Education to Career College Rankings Index 2016 can be found on the Educate to Career website at Searches may be made by state or college name.

“National studies show that the primary reason most students go to college is to obtain a rewarding career,” said Ron García, director of Career Services at Highlands. “This high Educate to Career ranking reflects our university’s commitment to assisting students in accomplishing this goal.”

García said the administration and faculty at Highlands do an excellent job of encouraging students to use the resources the university’s Career Services Center offers.

“We also partner with the faculty to teach students how to market the knowledge and skills they gain through their coursework, research experience, internships, and extracurricular activities like athletics and campus clubs,” García said.

He said the Career Services Center’s mission is to teach students how to conduct effective job searches, write outstanding resumes, interview well, and network successfully with employers for both internships and career positions.

“Our arsenal of online services includes tools like Optimal Resume software, job search videos, a job board of regional opportunities, and GoingGlobal, a worldwide database of more than 16 million internships and career opportunities. We also offer individual in-person career advice along with group presentations and workshops. We’re always looking for ways to improve our services and keep up with hiring trends,” García said.

He said one key to employment success for college graduates is to access career planning early in their education rather than waiting until their junior or senior year.

“We encourage freshman to participate in our career fairs and workshops to explore jobs related to their academic discipline. At our November 2015 career fair we broke another record for student participation at 632, with good representation from freshman,” García said.

The Career Services Center at Highlands is available to current students as well as alumni. Contact the center at 505-454-3048, via email at, or go online to