By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

CNM is assigning more security officers to bike and foot patrols to increase the security presence on all parts of CNM campuses, said Brad Moore, director of C & M Relations.

“Keeping students and employees safe on all campuses is CNM’s highest priority at all times, and our biggest concern,” he said.

CNM security and the Dean of Students office are planning to develop new safety and security trainings based on the feedback received during the recent security forums that were held for students, faculty, and staff, Moore said.

Currently in development, there are a few different 2-3 minute training videos that individuals can watch that pertain to campus safety protocols.

CNM is also developing College Emergency Response Teams (CERT) that will be trained on safety protocol, assist with situations when necessary and share safety information with students, faculty, and staff on their respective campuses, he said.

Individuals can also visit the website at and

The emergency procedures website provides individuals information on what to do in case of an active shooter being present, what to expect from responding officers, how to keep updated during an emergency, lockdown procedures, what to do during a lockdown, and training for CNM faculty and staff.

There is also information on what to do if a student is the victim of a crime, personal safety, and increasing personal safety.

Safety procedures and protocol are typically reviewed annually, Moore said.

There was a transition from a previous security chief to the current security chief about a year ago – the pages were last updated under the previous chief and the information has been reviewed in the last year and there has been no need for changes, he said.

As of September, CNM has remote building lockdown capabilities for thirteen buildings; they are at Main Campus: JS, KC, LSA, MS, RPM, SRC, and SSC; at Montoya: G, H, and TW; at the Westside Campus: MJG and WSI; and Rio Rancho Campus.

CNM security can lock down any of these buildings from its headquarters at Main Campus, and plans to have all of the branch campus buildings completed by December 2016 and the remaining Main Campus buildings by December 2017, Moore said.

According to Moore, there is also a safety workshop for students currently in development.

CNM is expecting to start offering the workshop after Thanksgiving week; it will be communicated to students in the Suncat Times, social media, and other venues, he said.

When students go on new student orientation tours, the orientation leaders (who are students) inform them about the presence of security officers, they encourage new students to sign-up for emergency text alerts and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, he said.

The tour leaders also inform new students that they can call security at any time if they feel the need for an escort to their vehicle especially at night, he said.

Leslie Katel, a CNM student for about two years, said that she does not recall being informed of safety procedures on campus and suggests that the information be made available to students in other ways besides through the myCNM website.

“I don’t feel safe in the evening.  I feel okay during the day, but I have evening classes and have to park farther away – if there is someone suspicious looking around, I become hyperaware.  I also think there should be more visible security in the evening especially now that it is getting darker earlier,” said Anna Fedele, a student employee.

CNM employees are also trained in safety and security at CNM, Moore said.

In addition to the exposure received in the first day, all new employees are required to take six core mandatory online courses, which include safety and security, he said.

Some of the points covered are weapons and firearms, fire alarms, CNM emergency alerts, security and safety.

CNM also works closely in partnership with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), which does regular patrols of CNM campuses, Moore said.

APD is the official law enforcement agency at CNM, since CNM does not have a police force, only a security force, he said.

According to Moore, another point worth noting in addition to CNM’s emergency text alert and email system, is that CNM has recently installed public-address systems inside all of the CNM buildings to provide important communications in the case of emergencies.

CNM has adjusted the schedules of the parking ambassadors so they are available in the evening to help monitor activity in parking lots and to help students in need.

CNM is also in the process of scheduling mental health first aid trainings and self-defense trainings, Moore said.

“For the size of CNM, it has a relatively low level of crime incidents compared with other urban colleges,” Moore said.

CNM’s Fall Fesival

By Stephanie Stuckey

Staff Reporter

CNM’s first fall festival was held at three different CNM campuses: Main, Montoya, and the Westside from October 26-28.

Student events and program manager Libby Fatta said that the festival was made possible through the efforts of the Engagement Task Team which is composed of students, staff, and faculty.

CNM was represented well at the festival with many information tables such as CNM Connect Services, the Fitness Department, Math, Science & Engineering, ACE, the Disability Resource Center, the Student Nursing Association, and achievement coaches.

This gave CNM students the opportunity to speak with representatives right then and there, face-to-face.

Ruby Encinias, achievement coach, was informing students that the school of Communications, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CHSS) is providing flash advisement periodically throughout each term at Main Campus.

Flash advisement is reaching out to students and evaluating their degree process, Encinias said.

Barbara Garcia, a work study in the ACE department, was letting students know that tutoring is free on every campus.

The fall festival was also a great way to give students an opportunity to get involved in student clubs and organizations.

Matthew McPheeters, the vice president of the Math League of CNM, wants to inform students that the Math League meets every Saturday at JS303 for study sessions.

“Student government is basically taking temperatures around campus about issues like smoking,” said Phillip Cox, the president of student government.

To get involved or to receive email updates about these clubs and organizations students could sign-up at the tables and in most cases received a sweet or savory treat such as candy or pizza for doing so.

There were also opportunities for students who are veterans and their spouses, ESL, GED, and developmental education students, and the unemployed or underemployed to apply for the SUN PATH Program at CNM.

The SUN PATH Program at CNM will prepare students for careers in healthcare by teaching students the necessary skills to do their job while preparing them for the workforce.

Mavrina Sanchez, a job development coach at CNM for the SUN PATH Program, said there are workshops on campus and one-on-one meetings.

Among the many CNM representatives, were many representatives from around the community as well.

Nusenda Credit Union, N.M. Primary Care Association, Lobo Village, Verizon, Wells Fargo, PopeJoy, N.M. Rail Runner, and the Bernalillo County Clerk were some that were there.

Patricia Pacheco who does voter outreach for the Bernalillo Co. Clerk’s office said “your vote is your voice as an American citizen; it is your opportunity for your voice to be heard.”

She was there registering students to vote.

Nicole Trujillo from N.M. Rail Runner wants students to know that they will receive a student discount with their student I.D., there is a monthly discount offered which works well for out-of-town students, and if students purchase their pass online, they will receive an additional $10 off the student discount.

PopeJoy of UNM was there giving students the opportunity to enter their names for a drawing to win tickets to a show.

There is also an offer of up to 40% off for CNM students for specified shows.

Visit for more information.

Minerva Valenzuela, the manager at Lobo Village, wants CNM students to know that they are welcome and encouraged to live at Lobo Village, it is not just for UNM students.

“Lobo Village is a great networking connection,” she said.

Fatta said this was a repeat of summer fest which was held at CNM and went well.

The Engagement Task team decided on doing a fall festival when there would be more students and more traffic, she said.

The location for the fall festival was changed from where it was held in the summer; fall fest at Main Campus was held in the courtyard.

“The plan for the fall festival was to have more vendors and more entertainment,” Fatta said.

Calling all creative cats | Leonardo Magazine 2016

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

Leonardo magazine is a student run magazine featuring creative works by CNM students, said Carly Harschlip faculty advisory for Leonardo magazine.

Leonardo is taking submissions in poetry (maximum of 3 poems, no more than 5 pages), fiction & creative nonfiction (maximum of 2 pieces, no more than 10 pages), art, and photography, Harschlip said.

Submissions are open to all students and must be submitted by February 1, she said.

The best way to submit work is through email at

“If a student is working on something creatively, Leonardo wants to see it,” she said, but wanted to stress that submissions do not ensure that a student’s work will be published in the magazine.

Due to limited space not every submission will be published, unfortunately, Harschlip said.

The students who run Leonardo are the people who pick what gets published in the annual printed magazine that is released every April, she said.

Harschlip said that Leonardo is hoping to take the magazine somewhat more digital, as well as transition into something more blog-like that would allow for monthly submissions rather than just the one printed issue in spring.

She said the annual printed issue would still be released, but it would entail the best of the best submissions throughout the year.

The staff at Leonardo magazine want to make Leonardo available to as many students as possible, Harschlip said.

Harschlip and Erin Adair-Hodges, another faculty advisor for Leonardo, have been trying to work in conjunction with instructors who teach art, photography, and writing classes to expand what is available to students in terms of creative writing and art, she said.

“We live increasingly in a world where creative work is not always valued as much as it should be; we want students to know their work has worth, it has value, and CNM as a whole values that,” she said.

Fit-Cats: CNM participates in Healthier Campus Initiative

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

CNM is the only community college so far that has been an active partner with Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America by participating in the Healthier Campus Initiative, said Dean of Students Dr. Rudy Garcia.

Partnership for a Healthier America reached out to Dr. Garcia about a year and a half ago after being referred by the American Association of Community Colleges to see if CNM would like to be the first community college to participate in such an initiative, said Dr. Garcia.

The Healthier Campus Initiative is the first-of-its-kind, making commitments with colleges and universities to make their campuses healthier by adopting guidelines around food, nutrition, physical activity, and programming.

Dr. Garcia said he wanted a little more information before jumping into the project because the Healthier Campus Initiative had only been working with four year institutions.

Four year institutions are different from two year community colleges in the way they house and have meal plans for students, Dr. Garcia said.

CNM does not have that type of community and there are no dorms or meal plans to choose from, he said.

“Our students are very transitory – they come and they go; this is very different from a four year university where the student spends most of their time on campus,” said Dr. Garcia.

One of the advantages of CNM participating in the Healthier Campus Initiative is that the community at CNM is everyday America, he said.

Our students are very busy dealing with life that often times health and the choice to make healthier choices are often neglected, he said.

Changing behaviors and habits are the most important when it comes to trying to be healthier, he said.

The Healthier Campus Initiative officially began at CNM this fall term, said Dr. Garcia.

Albuquerque has an estimated 352 days of sunshine per year and he wants students to engage in physical activity such as riding their bikes more, he said.

CNM offers a free bike valet, so that students will want to ride their bikes and feel confident that their bikes will be there when they get out of class, said Dr. Garcia.

The wellness path is currently under construction and should be completed in about a year; that should allow for more space for students to walk, jog or bike, he said.

CNM agreed to participate in about 12-15 guidelines from the Healthier Campus Initiative and those guidelines are things like creating opportunities for students to be more active, having more pedestrian friendly walkways, and having signs for pedestrian awareness around campus, said Dr. Garcia.

Switching the vending machines to healthier options is something that CNM may consider, but the main focus for CNM and this initiative right now is to change the habits and behaviors of the college’s population – students, faculty, and staff, he said.

Even the smallest of changes are worth the effort, such as parking farther away from the building and getting a little exercise by walking to class rather than circling the parking lot to get the spot in front of the building, he said.

Dr. Garcia said he is working with the school of Health, Wellness, & Public Safety to help with the Healthier Campus Initiative and they will be having Fun Fridays out on the lawn of the SRC where students can participate in different physical activities such as yoga and volleyball.

He is also going to be meeting with Lisa Gurule from the nutrition department as well as the culinary school to discuss the possibility of coming up with culture oriented, nutritious recipes.

“We have three different schools working together to create opportunities that students as well as faculty and staff can take advantage of,” said Dr. Garcia.

He is also speaking with the finance operations department about the possibility of building volleyball and basketball courts on campus.

Dr. Garcia also said he is a firm believer in mental health as well as physical health.

“I believe if a person is fit mentally then the rest seems to come a little easier,” he said.

Some of the benefits offered for mental health are going to be yoga, stress awareness and reducers, creating a relaxing environment around campus by planting indigenous plants to New Mexico, and having Curandero workshops, said Dr. Garcia.

Another great benefit toward mental health awareness is that there is training available for a three-year-certification in mental health first-aid on how to recognize mental health issues and learning how to help, he said.

Dr. Garcia said that this initiative is a three year project and he thinks that they will accomplish the bulk of the guidelines.

“We live in a society where we do not choose to be healthy until something serious happens and it leaves us no other choice,” he said.

CNM is honored to be participating in the Healthier Campus Initiative where healthier habits and behaviors are formed that will hopefully follow the student throughout life, he said.

Parking Ambassadors hit the pavement

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

The Parking Ambassador (PA) position at CNM is “student focused” said Parking Services manager, Nicholas Aragon.

Parking Ambassadors patrol the general and paid parking lots at CNM, check permits and look for suspicious behavior, Aragon said.

The Parking Ambassadors can be spotted walking around campus wearing yellow shirts and the Parking Services Department currently has four PAs, he said.

Aragon wants to stress that the main focus of the PAs and the Parking Services Department as a whole is the students.

“We want to change assumptions people may have regarding Parking Services – we are here for the community at CNM, not against them,” he said.

There is no quota on the amount of citations that are issued, the PAs job is to create a welcoming environment at CNM where people will want to return, Aragon said.

When Parking Ambassadors attend trainings, customer service is most important; “it is about the students, not the tickets,” he said.

PAs issue citations in general parking lots two weeks after the first day of the beginning of the semester, Aragon said.

Students, faculty, and staff using the general parking lots have a two week grace period in which to pick-up their general parking lot permits, he said.

There is no grace period for paid permit parking lots and PAs begin to issue citations on the first day of the semester, said Aragon.

“People pay good money to pay for those parking spots and they should be available to them when they are at CNM,” he said.

Aragon said that CNM does not tow vehicles due to outstanding citations.

PAs do pay close attention to handicap parking spots and fire lanes, Aragon said.

Students, staff, and faculty should feel comfortable talking and interacting with PAs – they are available to answer questions regarding general campus information as well, he said.

PAs are required to read the Suncat Times in order to have the most recent, up-to-date information, Aragon said.

Parking Ambassadors carry radios and are able to communicate with security in the instance they run into a situation which they are not trained to handle, he said.

PAs are only trained in dealing with parking issues – they are constantly being trained in communication skills as well as verbal judo, Aragon said.

Parking Ambassadors will also respond to various calls throughout the day dealing with issues such as hit and runs or several cars being parked in paid parking lots without permits, he said.

“The community at CNM is great about speaking-up when there is a problem,” Aragon said.

Something to keep in mind, Aragon said, is that the first citation is voided for everyone.

The person who received the citation may not know where to pick-up the general parking lot permits – Parking Ambassadors and Parking Services can educate that person by informing them of where to pick-up the parking permits, he said.

“It takes a special type of person to be a Parking Ambassador because not everyone is able to effectively communicate with such a diverse population,” Aragon said.

Is English your second language? | ESL special

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

ESL is an acronym for English as a second language said Carol Culver, MA director of Adult Basic Education and the School of Adult & General Education.

The ESL program is under the umbrella of Adult Basic Education and has been at CNM for many years, Culver said.

“The students that go to the ESL program are generally not native speakers of the English language, and often English may be the third or fourth language that they speak,” she said.

The ESL department is located in the CNM Connect area of the SCC and anyone interested in ESL classes at CNM can sign-up for an orientation that is offered every three weeks Culver said.

Along with the orientation, the student will need to complete a placement test for proper class placement because the classes are leveled, she said.

Upon completion of the orientation process students can register for classes that they qualify for, she said.

“There is no tuition for classes offered by the ESL program since it is a federally and stated government funded program,  the books are free and provided by the program as well, but there is however a $10 registration fee,” she said.

The classes are non-credit classes, but the ESL program offers co-enrollment classes where the more advanced students can take non-credit and college credit classes, she said.

These types of classes are for ESL students interested in attending college, but might be worried that their English is not quite good enough to take college credit courses, she said.

CNM’s non-credit/credit class program offers a supplemental ESL non-credit class to accompany the college credit class to help support the student, she said.

IBEST which stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training is another program offered by the ESL program;  the integrated basic education is the ESL part and the skills training part allows students to receive training in a specified skill, Culver said.

There are two participating programs currently, she said.

One in Early Childhood/Multicultural Education partnered with the CHSS department at CNM and the other is Nursing Assistant partnered with the School of Health, Wellness, & Public Safety at CNM, she said.

“These programs seem to be extremely popular with the students and have long wait lists,” she said.

Culver said they are hoping to expand these programs as well as offer programs in other areas in the future.

“Students who are not quite at this level can participate in a program called Life Skills English which is geared toward new immigrants that need more help with the basics of the English language,” she said.

Topics of this program cover things like how to function in the community such as shopping, renting an apartment, signing a lease, etc., she said.

“It gives the students opportunities to practice dialogue in these particular settings in the English language,” she said.

Other resources available to ESL students are specified tutors partnered with ACE, English conversational groups, ESL book club, and U.S. citizenship exam preparation, she said.

The ESL program also has a class available for non-native English speaking CNM custodial staff to help them improve their English for their job as well as to support them in becoming U.S. citizens, Culver said.

“The whole program of Adult Basic Education over 4,000 students walk through their door and about 60% of them are ESL students,” she said.

In Albuquerque the highest group of immigrants are Spanish speakers, but there is also a significant population of Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic speakers as well, Culver said.

“I have spent twenty-five years teaching immigrants – thousands of students who said please help me, I want to improve my English,” Culver said.

She said when there is a large group of immigrants there is a great need and desire to learn English.

Passion for language | Instructor Spotlight: Rodney Ulibarri

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

Rodney Ulibarri, faculty mentor, at CNM grew-up bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish at home.

He does translations for many of the academic departments of CNM as well as the CNM website, he said.

He is also an instructor for Spanish 101 and 102 level classes, he said.

“I find the differences and similarities of multiple languages very interesting,” he said.

Prior to accepting the Language Translator position at CNM he was primarily a Spanish instructor, but has also taught math courses at CNM as well, he said.

Ulibarri’s history with CNM also includes working as an achievement coach for a program called La Communidad and being a clerical specialist in the registration office, he said.

He has a bachelor degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of New Mexico as well as a masters in Linguistics, he said.

“I worked on a project of linguistic variance called a linguistic atlas which involved the history of Spanish and its relation to New Mexico,” he said.

Ulibarri said the project started in Mexico City, then went to Spain, and finally New Mexico.  He entered the project in 1991 and interviewed people from all over New Mexico.

He interviewed three different generations both female and male from the ages of 18-35, 35-65, and 65+ he said.

“The love for linguistics became evident to me when I was ten years old due to having a sister who is hearing impaired which gave me an opportunity to  learn sign language so I could communicate with her,” he said.

He began to notice similarities in Spanish and sign language in the way certain words related to each other, he said.

Ulibarri recalls his grandparents being literate in Spanish and taught him how to read in Spanish by reading the Bible and singing Spanish hymns with him, he said.

Originally from northern New Mexico, Ulibarri grew-up in the south valley of Albuquerque, he said.

He recalls as a student at Harrison Middle School, the thought of attending college did not even cross his mind, he said.

“Even though I earned above average grades, and made the honor roll, I did not think of college as an option,” he said.

Ulibarri graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1984 where many of his teachers expected him to go onto college and major in medicine or archaeology, he said.

Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.
Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.

Photo by Stephanie Stuckey

CNM’s new transfer website

By Stephanie Stuckey,Staff Reporter

A new website has become available  for students that are interested in continuing their education and transferring to a four-year institution, stated Roberto Vasquez, Transfer Articulation analyst for CNM.

He said the website will benefit students at all points in their academic careers.

It can be helpful for students to plan accordingly when looking ahead toward their futures, whether it be for their associate degrees or their bachelor degrees, Vasquez said.

The website also helps the student understand the courses that are required to earn their degree at CNM and how the degrees will transfer to four-year institutions and bachelor programs of their choice, he said.

According to Vasquez, the website is also available to students who have earned a degree and are already in the workforce; students will be able to become familiar with what opportunities are available to them if they should decide to continue their education.

“The website was developed with the intention of bringing light to the transfer process, not just from a four year admissions perspective, but also academically,” Vasquez said.

Having all the necessary information in one place was important in creating a seamless transfer experience for students, he said.

Another factor was to help students understand how degrees will transfer.

Because the transfer process involves two institutions it can get tricky in the information that the student receives from two different sources, Vasquez said.

Transferring to other institutions requires a lot of learning because it is an entirely new experience and process for the student, he stated.

“Aside from the process and the academic standpoint, we want to help students understand their options around the state, and what programs are offered,” Vasquez said.

Instructor Spotlight: Meridiae by Lea Anderson

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

MERIDIAE (pronounced muh-rid-ee-ay) is the name of the artwork being displayed in the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History’s Grand Lobby and created by CNM art teacher Lea Anderson.

Anderson was invited by the museum’s curator Andrew Connors to serve as the 2015 Summer Artist-in-Residence, which according to Anderson, was an incredible honor for her.

“The curator trusted her to do anything she wanted with the space, which was exciting because it is a rare opportunity to be able to create artwork somewhere other than the conventional canvas or piece of paper,” Anderson said.

This made her think outside the box and think about how to make the space work for her, she said.

The lobby has a lot of interesting architecture and nook & cranny type spaces, but what really made an impression on her was the window which she described as dramatic and a good focal point, she said.

The window really made her think about how it represents a connection between the millions of ideas inside of the museum and the millions of ideas just outside of the museum, she said.

“The connection between where we are at any one particular time and the outside is represented symbolically with the window being the channel of connection between this world and that world,” she said.

This is when she had to really think about how she was going to visually represent all those ideas being shared and connected, Anderson said.

She began work in June 2015 with a previous piece of artwork she had made, she said.

According to Anderson, it is a small piece with about 100 little circles with all types of different designs in them.

She took a picture of the artwork and enlarged it to serve as a model; a visualization of her idea of connection, she said.

Anderson enlarged the photograph to 20 feet and laid the grid of widows in the lobby over the photograph, she said.

She noticed the circular shape with the grid began to look like a globe or a map with the lines of latitude, longitude, and the equator which fit because she thought of the original piece as being many worlds within a huge world in a symbolic sense, she said.

Upon researching globes and maps she came across the word meridian, which is a circle of constant longitude passing through a given place on the earth’s surface, she said.

Anderson said of MERIDIAE that it could be a slice of many worlds that suddenly materialize and the connections become visible.

She said she did not like the plural word for meridian, so she made up the word meridiae.

It has no other meaning, the word does not exist, Anderson said.

She thought the word was interesting because it sounds like a spiritual name and a scientific name at the same time, she stated.

Anderson said she likes to think in relation to the piece as the window being the surface of a painting and what is behind the painting is suddenly visible as well.

“You can see beyond just the painting, you can see what really went into it and get a sense of the personality of the artist,” she said.

MERIDIAE was installed in 15 days after working for 7 hours per day at the museum and spending hundreds of hours on the computer, she said.

She related this experience to a runner who is training for a marathon and then actually runs the marathon – this was her marathon, she said.

MERIDIAE was compiled using the original photograph as the little shapes inside, suggesting that everything in life is interconnected, she said.

Anderson said the inspiration for the colors she chose to use were taken from the architectural elements of the beams in the windows.

Below the big beam in the middle she chose to use blue or any variations of blue possible, she said.

Representing water, someone’s subconscious, the underworld, or just another place, she said.

Above the beam, it is multicolored, which can suggest flowers or the emergence of life, Anderson said.

The beauty of it is that it is not meant to have just one specific interpretation, it is important for it to be easy for people to come up with their own interpretations, she said.

According to Anderson, there are many factors to consider when doing an installation artwork piece: what materials should be used, how the light will affect the art work, how the people will interact with it, how long it can last, and the possibility of it breaking.

The material that was used is a thick acetate type of plastic and a giant flat-bed printer from Albuquerque Reprographics (ARI) to print the images onto the plastic, Anderson said.

Highly pigmented ink intended to be light fast was used for the color, it is the same material used on signs meant to hang in windows to ensure there would be no fading, she said.

Anderson said each shape was cut-out individually with the help of her former intern and former CNM student Jesse Garcia and others.

Although she used technology for the piece, there is still the process of real hand-made work, she said.

After cutting out all the pieces by hand, Anderson said she glued each piece on herself ensuring everything was in place.

Anderson said she is not sure if touch-ups will be needed, as she thoroughly tested the material, but is willing to touch it up if necessary.

As she glued the last piece on and took a step back to take a look she was really excited, but surprised at how big it actually turned out, she said.

The thing that excites her the most is seeing how other people interact with MERIDIAE, she said.

Anderson strongly suggests students visit Albuquerque’s Museum of Art and History, not only to experience MERIDIAE for themselves, but because the curator of the museum puts a lot of effort into catering to the likes of Albuquerque’s residents, she said.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The museum is closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, according to

General museum admission is free every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday evening of every month (fees for special exhibits and events still apply on free times).

Otherwise, general admission tickets for N.M. residents are $2 for seniors, $3 for adults (19-64), $3 for teens (13-18) and $1 for children (4-12).

Photo by Stephanie Stuckey
Photo by Stephanie Stuckey

The ins and outs of student loans

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

There are currently five different loans available to students and their parents, said Lee Carrillo, senior director of Financial Aid & Scholarship Services at CNM.

They are the Subsidized Stafford Loan, the Unsubsidized Stafford Load, the Federal Perkins, the Federal Parent Loans for Undergrads (PLUS), and the Nursing Student Loan-for-Service, he said.

The requirements to receive a student loan, are that a person must be enrolled in 6 credit hours; congress establishes loan limits that may be prorated depending on your student classification, Carrillo said.

If a student is a first time borrower, they will need to complete the entrance counseling session, which is in person, he said.

The entrance counseling session is about 30 minutes to an hour long and students can expect to learn the do’s and do not’s of borrowing, as well as “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of the student loan process, he said.

First time borrowers are also required to sign a master promissory note, which is a document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person or agency at a specified date or on demand.

When a student signs a promissory note, they are agreeing to repay the loan according to the terms of the note; this note is a binding legal document.

Carrillo said that the counseling sessions are offered at Main Campus, Montoya Campus, and the West Side Campus.

Carrillo said students are discouraged to borrow money, unless absolutely necessary because the cost to attend CNM is so low.

Students need to keep in mind student loans should not be expected to supplement total income, he said.

If students do decide that they are going to get a student loan, the two most common are the Subsidized Stafford Loan and the Unsubsidized Loan, he said.

The difference between the two loans is that with the Subsidized Loan, the government will pay the interest on the loan as long as the student is enrolled in 6 credit hours or more.

The Unsubsidized Loan requires the student to pay the interest on the loan monthly or the loan will begin to accrue interest monthly, Carrillo said.

According to the, under financial aid the Federal Perkins Loan is available who are in the medical or educational field, the maximum annual award is limited to $2,000 per student, and is based on available funds.

The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), is a loan specifically for the parents of dependent students and is meant to help parents pay for their children’s education per the CNM website.

There is also a loan available to nursing students only, it is the Nursing Student Loan-for-Service Loan.

The purpose of this loan is to increase the number of nurses in under-served rural areas in New Mexico.

Students need to keep in mind that they are borrowing money against future income and there are certain responsibilities that the students must adhere to, Carrillo said.

A student who takes out a student loan must repay the loan even if they do not complete their education, Carrillo said.

Repayment on loans begins 6 months after graduation or if the student drops below 6 credit hours and does not return to school, payment will be expected on the first day of the sixth month, he said.

Ramifications of not paying back student loans are that it will reflect badly on credit reports and wage garnishment can and will happen, Carrillo said.

According to Carrillo, wage garnishment is different than auto-pay in that the student is forced to make payments directly from their check.

Auto-pay is when the student willingly makes arrangements with the student loan servicing agency to take payments directly from the student’s bank account.

There are a few different payment options available to students if their payment is too high, Carrillo said:

-the basic set amount payment per month

-the graduated payment, which starts out low, then gradually gets higher each year

-the debt to income ratio, which is based on income earned and actual take home pay; this

can be as low as $25/month.

However, if a student falls into the lower payment bracket, they could possibly be paying back the student loan for a long time and interest accrues at a high rate due to not paying off any of the principle amount, Carrillo said.

At the entrance counseling, students will receive a list of twelve different loan servicing agencies that will be servicing their loans, he said.

Students are often unaware that these agencies are who they need to make their payments to and the loan statements get mixed-up with junk mail or thrown away, so it is very important for the student to be aware, pay attention, and follow through, he said.

“The out of sight, out of mind philosophy will not work with students loans, they will catch-up with you,” Carrillo stated.

Students will be discouraged from borrowing at CNM because they should really hold off on student loans until transferring to a four year institution because that is where they will really need it, he said.

Exit counseling is also available to students upon graduation as well, he said.

At exit counseling, students will be informed of what can be expected from them, in terms of their student loans after graduating, he said.

Student loan information can be found at under student resources.

Under student resources, select financial aid, and to the left of that page, select loans.

The CNM website is a great reference tool and students can access the information at any time, Carrillo said.