New Mexico and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Since New Mexico does not have a dental school, all students from New Mexico must attend out of state programs to get their dental education.  The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) is a 15 member regional compact creating a non-profit agency to share higher education resources throughout the Western U.S.  New Mexico has been a member since 1952.  

WICHE is a loan for service program allows students to pay reduced tuition (basically a blended average of out of state and in state tuitions) to an out of state dental school.  In return for the reduced tuition, students must return to New Mexico to practice and repay their loan.  92% of dentistry graduates return to serve in New Mexico.  Graduates who do not return must repay their support fees, plus interest.

In 2014-15 New Mexico, its institutions, and its students saved or brought in some $7.1 million through WICHE and spent $137,000 for membership in the commission, yielding a 52-fold returnon investment.

In the last 5 years, New Mexico savings from WUE alone have totaled more than $21.8 million, yielding a 34-fold return on the state’s investment in WICHE.

More information on New Mexico and WICHE can be found here.