Take your education to the next degree

Students can now work toward bachelor’s degrees in Santa Fe. New Mexico Highlands University, the University of New Mexico, and Northern New Mexico College join SFCC in the Santa Fe Higher Education Center to bring students an affordable, convenient way to achieve a bachelor’s or master’s degree without leaving Santa Fe.


In 2009, Santa Fe Community College submitted a proposal to the NM Higher Education Department to establish a Higher Education Center (HEC) under the Learning Center Act [21-16A NMSA 1978] to address the unmet needs of the community. The Higher Education Department approved the proposal and the HEC was formally established. Prior to that date, the state capital of New Mexico, had never had a campus of a public, four-year post-secondary institution. The primary options for Santa Fe’s citizens were private colleges with high tuition costs. Fiscally challenged residents, especially the community’s youth, had to migrate to Albuquerque, Las Cruces or Las Vegas to complete a bachelor’s degree. The Higher Education Center was opened in January, 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions About the SFHEC | Santa Fe Higher Education Center Fact Sheet


The mission of the Santa Fe Higher Education Center is to be a model higher education consortium focused on expanding educational opportunities to the citizens of Santa Fe and the surrounding service area. Lower division courses, certificates and associate degrees offered by Santa Fe Community College are enhanced by partnerships with four-year institutions to bring affordable, accessible bachelor’s degree and graduate programs to Santa Fe and the region.

Organizational Structure

Under the provisions of the Learning Center Act [21-16A NMSA 1978], the members of the SFCC Governing Board also serve as members of the Learning Center (LC) District Board. The LC District Board is a separate entity; it is responsible for overseeing HEC operations and contracting with higher education institutions to offer accredited educational programs and services.

SFCC provides administrative and accounting services to the HEC as a component unit of the College’s budget. The LC District Board decides on the degree programs that are offered through the HEC based on formal needs assessments and community input. The HEC Director reports to the SFCC President and is responsible for day-to-day operations in collaboration with the four-year partner institution representatives.


On August 3, 2010, SFCC District voters approved a $35 million bond measure, $12 million of which funded the construction of a facility for the HEC. The facility opened in the spring of 2015 on a site adjacent to the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus. The Center was launched in August 2011 with the Institute of American Indian Arts, New Mexico Highlands University, and the University of New Mexico as partner institutions. New Mexico State University joined the HEC in July 2013. The facility was opened to the public during a grand opening held in January, 2015.

View Architect’s Rendering of the Higher Education Center Building

Building a Sustainable Facility | Grand Opening 

For more information about the Santa Fe Higher Education Center, please call the Higher Education Center administration office at 505-428-1725.