FAQ: Las Cruces and Surrounding Area

Q: What is the cost of living in Las Cruces? The assistantship offered by NMSU does not pay as much as some other schools, but if the cost of living is low, it would even out. Are the graduate stipends enough to live on?
A: The cost of living in Las Cruces is quite low. Most students get apartments in the $300-$400 range and this is quite affordable with our stipends. If you have pets and need a yard, you can generally find an older house for $450-$550 a month. Some of our students have opted to share places, and in that case you can definitely afford some of the higher end apartments and houses. As far as other expenses go (groceries, utilities, gasoline, etc.), Las Cruces seems pretty typical.

Tuition and fees run to about $1,900 per semester and the graduate students usually do payroll deduction, so that’s about $315/month. NMSU graduate students have been working with the state legislature to pass a tuition-waiver bill for all graduate students across the state, and some year soon it may actually happen. In addition, the Graduate School provides one- and three-year tuition scholarships for some applicants.

Q: What is Las Cruces like? What is there to do? What is the surrounding area like?
A: Although it hosts a large university, Las Cruces is not your typical college town. Because it’s a “border town” in a rather rural part of the state, we have a large Hispanic population and agriculture is an important industry. For the most part, people here are very casual. There are plenty of fun things to do here, they are just not all within walking distance from campus. Las Cruces requires exploring and taking recommendations from people. Aside from the newer chains coming in, many of the buildings look a little run down and you would not necessarily think to stop for dinner or a drink. If you don’t, you’ll miss some of the best parts about Cruces.

The grad students have found a number of ways to occupy their time: going for beer at the local brewery, running, hiking, and rock climbing in the nearby mountains, listening to music (one of our students is a bassist in two local bands), going to indie movies in Mesilla, attending the semi-annual wine tasting festivals, joining university intramural athletic teams, and more. The university itself offers a variety of free and low-cost classes to students including pilates, step-aerobics, capoeira, and dance. The local museum of art (it is rather small) offers classes as well, in things like pottery, photography, and weaving. But to be totally honest, grad students do not do any of this with much frequency because they are trying to keep up with classes and research!