The University of New Mexico was ranked in the top 100 public universities for the second consecutive year in a 2022 best colleges rankings report by U.S. News and World Report. This accomplishment, ranking 99 out of 100 schools, comes after a series of critical transitions for the University over the past few years, including the installment of President Garnett Stokes in 2018 as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parents and students still look at and consider college rankings,” Vice President of Enrollment Management Dan García said. “A student who may not have considered UNM is going to see us listed (in the top 100 public universities) and dig in further, and that’s important.”

UNM is among the ranks of 131 Research I Universities throughout the country, which Provost James Holloway said is the “highest level of research productivity for a higher education institution.”

“It means tens of millions of dollars of research grants (are) coming to the University,” García said. “It also means that our faculty are experts in their disciplines (are) conducting research that not only goes out to contribute to the body of knowledge of the world, but they bring that to the classroom.”

Holloway said serving as the only Research I institution in New Mexico strengthens the University’s role by creating new businesses and supporting communities throughout the school and state. 

“It’s because we’re a Research I university here that we can bring in those faculty that are creators of knowledge,” Holloway said. 

Bringing differing perspectives to UNM serves to enrich the intellectual environment as a whole, Holloway said. 

García said the metrics associated with graduation rate and average time taken to complete a four-year degree have notably improved, and the impression of the University is further bolstered by faculty expertise and accomplishments, which stands out to prospective students.

“It adds value to the degrees that students are currently here getting,” Associated Students of the University of New Mexico President Greg Romero said. 

“It’s really critical to a lot of us that UNM has managed to be both the creator of new knowledge and an accessible institution,” Holloway said. “(UNM) is really quite inexpensive in comparison to peer institutions, even in the region. That means that the population of New Mexico — this very rich population — has access to the University.”

García echoed these sentiments and said UNM recognizes potential in a diverse array of prospective applicants and is looking to bring in scholars that will be successful, not just “4.0 (GPA) students.”

Holloway said UNM is one of roughly 10 universities in the country that are both Research I and Hispanic-serving institutions.

“We think that’s a really special place to be because by about 2040, every university will be majority-minority as we are now,” Holloway said. “The population of the institution will be much more reflective of the nation as a whole.”

The collective footprint caused by the new hires brought on by Stokes and Holloway in the past few years is also directly reflected in the rankings by U.S. News and World Report, according to Romero.

“I know, from my meetings with (Stokes and Holloway) that their goal, truly, is bettering the University,” Romero said. 

Romero said this ranking strengthens his pride as a student and accurately reflects the state of the University.

“It’s really good to finally see some positive recognition for the work that’s being put in here,” Romero said. 

Rebecca Hobart is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @DailyLobo