Financing the Education of Your Dreams

By: Kalith Smith, Director of Admission New Mexico Military Institute

Last year I celebrated the arrival of the entering class of 2016 with a day at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, NM. The Office of Admission had worked hard to bring in the class, but I had my phone forwarded to me just in case. I didn’t expect anything too earth shattering to happen. Then my phone rang. As I helped my kids understand the history that carved out Carlsbad Caverns, the voice on the other end asked a few simple questions, “My nephew was supposed to come to NMMI for matriculation, but we had a funeral. Can he still come? What would he need to have pulled together?” I explained to his Aunt that based on his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all high school seniors should fill out online at fafsa.ed.gov, the student was getting an incredible value. He was receiving aid and scholarships based on his admission, his academic ability and his financial need, but the student did not understand. This student had started his journey to NMMI during an annual trip with the Pinon, Arizona JROTC Cadets to NMMI as part of the Navajo Nation Reservation. But when thinking about NMMI for college—he saw Roswell, NM as a bridge too far. But when his Aunt found out that the pieces for his future—especially financially could come together–he was on the road to NMMI! His family went all out to make sure he didn’t miss the opportunity.

Fast forward to December when his mom and grandmother picked him up for winter break. I had asked to meet them, so he brought them to my office. I saw his Best New Cadet (BNC) Boards and asked if they knew what that meant. These boards are highly prized and point to a rising star in the Corps of Cadets. Once I explained the boards, they were beaming. What had almost ended before it got started had a wonderful end to the first chapter of his story at NMMI. His performance at NMMI brought pride to him, his family and the entire Navajo Nation. His Aunt stepped in at just the right moment, asked just the right questions and made the effort to drive him to Roswell and ensure that he took advantage of this opportunity.

At NMMI, we work very hard to create opportunities for students that cannot be achieved anywhere else. Each accredited institution you are considering will have unique things to offer and you are left to make a decision on which road to choose. However, sometimes students stop themselves before they are able to find out what is possible. This happens all the time when students and families see the initial price tag for education and shy away, not taking the time to go through the process that would allow us to process the file for admission. Once a student is admitted, they are automatically considered for scholarships. At NMMI we don’t only look at your GPA and test score, we are also considering your past behavior, your leadership and any special ability as we award scholarships. In each situation we can’t tell you what you might be eligible for if you don’t complete your application! So, whatever school you are considering move through their process and find out what is possible before you declare it to be impossible. Now is the time, apply online, send in the necessary documents and see what might be possible. My student who almost stopped himself is up for a big promotion in the Corps of Cadets in the fall. He is incredible, but he needed to take a step out of his comfort zone (and he needed a little push from his family) to find out just how incredible he really is!

As Dr. Seuss wrote:

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So…get on your way!

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