It is the second largest four-year university in the state of New Mexico, in terms of total enrollment across all campuses as of 2011, with campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Doña Ana County, and Grants, with extension and research centers across New Mexico.
It was founded to teach agriculture in 1888 as the Las Cruces College, and the following year became New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. It received its present name in 1960. NMSU has 18,497 students enrolled as of Fall 2009, and has a faculty-to-student ratio of about 1 to 19. NMSU offers a wide range of programs and awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through its main campus and four community colleges. NMSU is the only research-extensive, land-grant, USA-Mexico border institution classified as Hispanic serving by the federal government.