Section VI: Benefits

6.01 Educational Benefits

Revised: 11/11/14

The College offers educational benefits to support the growth of employees both academically and professionally. The College also provides additional educational benefits to dependents of eligible employees. Employees in positions not covered by a collective bargaining unit are eligible.

Applicable to All Educational Benefits

  1. A regular full-time employee may use tuition waiver and tuition reimbursement options for a maximum of 18 credit hours per calendar year.
  2. Waivers are not granted for costs or fees for courses offered as part of special CNM programs including, but not limited to, the Workforce Training Center.
  3. CNM will not pay for any class taken more than once.
  4. Should an employee hold more than one position at CNM, the primary position, as designated by Human Resources, will determine eligibility and level of educational benefits.
  5. Course fees not specified below must be paid by the student.

Central New Mexico Community College Release Time

  1. With supervisor approval, a regular full-time employee may use up to three hours per work week to take CNM courses.
  2. A request for CNM release time may be approved or denied based on department needs and the effect of the employee's absence on department operations.
  3. An employee with unsatisfactory performance may be denied release time.

Central New Mexico Community College Tuition & Fee Waivers


a. Employees are eligible for waivers of tuition, registration fees, technology fees, and distance learning fees for courses included in CNM's programs of study as detailed in the CNM Catalog.

b. A regular full-time employee enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for waivers for up to 18 credit hours per calendar year. If not in a degree or certificate program, the employee is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year.

c. A regular part-time employee enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year. If not in a degree or certificate program, the employee is eligible for waivers for up to 4 credit hours per calendar year.


Dependents must be registered in Human Resources in order to be covered for this benefit, including a spouse, domestic partner, and children. Dependent children include step-children, children of a domestic partner, and legal guardianship. They are eligible through the term in which they turn 24-years of age.

a. CNM will waive tuition, registration fees, and technology fees for CNM courses for dependents of a regular full-time employee for up to 18 credit hours per term if the dependent is enrolled in a degree or certificate program. If they are not in a degree or certificate program, the dependent is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year.

b. The dependents of a regular part-time employee are eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per term if they are enrolled in a degree or certificate program.

Tuition Reimbursement

  1. With supervisor approval, a regular full-time employee is eligible for tuition reimbursement for institutions other than CNM for up to 18 credit hours per calendar year if they are enrolled in a degree or certificate program. Tuition costs are reimbursed at the actual cost or at the current University of New Mexico tuition rates, whichever is less. Other fees—such as registration, graduate student associations, books, labs, and supplies—are not reimbursable.
  2. Courses must be taken on the employee's own time and no release time is allowed; however, flex scheduling may be allowed at the supervisor's determination based on department needs and the effect of the employee's absence on department operations.

Taxability on Educational Benefits

Under IRS regulation, the value of tuition benefits may be considered taxable income to the employee. The value of the tuition benefit, if applicable, will be included as compensation on the employee's W-2 form filed with the IRS and subject to withholding. For more information, visit

6.02 Professional Development

The College supports continued development of employee competencies through the Professional Development Program (PDP). PDP guidelines are approved by the president with input from faculty and staff representatives.

6.03 Payment for Travel

Revised: 5/10/16

This policy provides guidelines for direct payment by CNM and employee reimbursement of reasonable and allowable costs incurred by members of the Governing Board, employees, students and advisory board members traveling to and participating in conferences, meetings or academic programs that are considered official College business. It is incumbent upon all individuals using College funds for these purposes to make the most reasonable economical arrangements possible. Travel and conference/meeting attendance must be approved through CNM’s travel management system.

I. Methods of Reimbursement

A.  Actual Expenses

1.  CNM’s Governing Board delegates authority to the president or president’s designee to authorize reimbursement of actual travel expenses for salaried employees and non-salaried public officers of CNM in accordance with this policy. Appropriate documentation of each expense must be submitted. Actual expenses for lodging may not exceed the following:

  • Lodging may not exceed $300 per day, inclusive of taxes and other fees, for a single room. Extraordinary circumstances may exist because of the high cost of travel to some destinations, thus exceptions to the actual lodging reimbursement rate of $300 per day must be approved in advance by the president or designee.
  • Actual expenses for meals may not exceed $30 in-state; $45 out-of-state per day.

2. Vehicle Rental. Vehicles may be rented for official CNM business subject to the following conditions:

  • The need for vehicle rental shall be justified and documented on the travel request.
  • Rental of a vehicle for use within 150 miles of CNM Main Campus shall normally be prohibited. Exceptions must be justified in writing and approved by the appropriate vice president.
  • Normally, a vehicle in the mid-size price range should be used. Exceptions must be justified in writing and approved by the appropriate vice president.
  • CNM has adequate liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance coverage for vehicles rented on behalf of CNM. Renters should waive any optional coverage.
  • Gasoline expenses incurred with car rentals are reimbursable with the submission of original receipts.

3. Incidental Expenses. Taxi or other Ground Transportation, tips other than in conjunction with meals, parking fees, and other reasonable actual costs may be reimbursed if adequate documentation is provided.

4. Travel Advances. Employees are expected to pay reimbursable travel expenditures with personal credit cards or personal funds.

  • Travel advances may be granted under exceptional or unusual circumstances with appropriate justification and documentation and the approval of the Governing Board or designee.
  • Travel advances shall not exceed 80% of estimated out-of-pocket expenses.

The traveler is required to return all advances in excess of travel per diem or actual expense.

B.  Per Diem

1. Governing Board members, the public member of the Governing Board Audit Committee, members of the CNM Labor Relations Board and such other members of CNM's advisory boards as may be designated by the President (hereinafter referred to as "non-salaried public officers") shall receive either reimbursement pursuant to Section I(B) of this policy or $95 per diem expenses for each board or committee meeting attended or for each day spent in discharge of official duties for travel within New Mexico but away from the non-salaried public officer’s home.

2. A CNM employee traveling within New Mexico away from his/her home and away from his/her designated post of duty on official CNM business shall receive either reimbursement pursuant to Section B of this Policy or $85 per diem expenses per 24-hour period spent in discharge of official duties.  For special in-state municipalities (Cloudcroft, Santa Fe), this amount may be increased to $135 per 24-hour period.

3. Non-salaried public officers and employees shall receive reimbursement pursuant to Section I (A)(2) of this policy or $115 per diem expense for each 24-hour period of out-of-state for travel on CNM business. The Governing Board authorizes a per diem allowance of up to $215 per 24-hour period if the per diem allowance of $115 is inadequate for out-of-state travel as determined by the president or designee.

4. Per diem and mileage or per diem and the cost of tickets for common carriers paid to salaried public officers or employees is in lieu of actual expenses for transportation, lodging, and meals.

5. Reimbursement for meals for a partial day following a twenty-four hour (24) hour period involving an overnight stay shall be reimbursed as follows:

  • Fewer than six (6) hours beyond the last twenty-four hour period; no reimbursement
  • Six (6) or more but fewer than twelve (12) hours: $10 in-state; $15 out-of-state
  • Twelve (12) or more but fewer than eighteen (18) hours: $20 in-state; $30 out-of-state
  • Eighteen (18) or more but fewer than twenty-four (24) hours: $30 in-state; $45 out-of-state

6. Travelers requesting per diem reimbursement must submit appropriate documentation of expenses.

7. Travel by personal vehicle shall be reimbursed at the rate of $0.32 per mile. The number of miles to be reimbursed shall be determined by either (1) an official road map mileage chart; or (2) established distances between CNM campuses or sites. An Internet map or odometer reading may only be used to determine the number of miles to be reimbursed if an official road map mileage chart or established distances between CNM campuses or sites do not apply. The amount reimbursed shall not exceed the lowest cost for reasonable commercial air fare to the same destination.

8.  A portion of a traveler's per diem payment will be considered taxable income if (1) the per diem payment exceeds the standard federal rate approved by the Internal Revenue Service; or (2) the employee does not provide CNM with expense receipts to substantiate that the actual travel expenses matched or exceeded the per diem payment.

C. Stipend

To facilitate professional development, arrangements may be made for partial subsidy of travel. Travelers may be reimbursed a flat rate, a percentage of actual costs, or a combination thereof that shall be agreed to in advance by the traveler and the appropriate dean or supervisor, as well as the appropriate vice president. Stipend amounts may not exceed the limits provided for actual expenses.

II. Prepaid Expenses

A. Air Fare

Air transportation is booked with CNM’s approved travel agency by a travel coordinator and the cost is directly billed to CNM. In extraordinary circumstances, alternate booking methods may be used with approval from a vice president or the President.  Where possible, the lowest priced flights should be booked.  Reimbursement shall not be made when frequent flyer miles or reward points are used.

B. Registration Fees

Registration fees for educational programs or conferences are typically paid in advance by CNM prior to the dates of travel. If registration fees include lodging or meals, per diem rates may be reduced or may not be approved.

1. Conference or Meeting Costs

  • The cost of all functions and events, including receptions and meals, that are part of an official conference agenda will be processed as part of the conference cost. These costs will be billed to the appropriate department account and not to the General Activity Account.
  • Preconference workshops are considered part of the official conference agenda.
  • Payment will not be allowed for activities not directly related to the conference agenda, e.g. sightseeing tours and guest activities.

III. International Travel

All international travelers who are U.S. citizens must register in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  International travel must be approved by the appropriate vice president or designee. CNM reserves the right to modify, cancel, or postpone any college-sponsored travel.

A. Insurance

Travelers must have health and accident insurance coverage during the period of international travel. For CNM employees required to travel internationally on official CNM business, the cost for such insurance coverage is an allowable expense.   Proof of the appropriate insurance coverage is required prior to travel.   

B. Travel Assessment Committee

A Travel Assessment Committee (“TAC”), appointed by the Executive Team in conjunction with the Executive Director of Global Education, will evaluate travel risks such as Centers for Disease Control Travel Health Warnings, U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings, weather concerns, and any other conditions that could threaten the safety of faculty, staff or students.

The TAC will advise the appropriate vice president of its concerns related to travel. Ultimately, the decision to cancel planned travel rests with the appropriate vice president or with the president. This decision shall be based on factors such as:

  • The type of travel warning;
  • The ability to minimize risk; and
  • Whether the travel can be rescheduled for another time when travel warnings and restrictions have lessened.

If traveling to a country with one or more travel warnings, as determined by the U.S. State Department, travelers must complete and sign an Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability.

C. Export Control

All travelers must comply with all export control laws and regulations. Many common items may be subject to export control laws. See

1. Travel to Sanctioned Countries

  • The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control enforces economic sanctions. If you are traveling to a sanctioned country, carefully review the details of the relevant sanctions program available at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

2. Carrying Cash

  • Any person carrying a large amount of cash out of or into the United States is required to declare any amount over $10,000 to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

D. Per Diem and Actual Costs – For Employees Only

The per diem rate is dependent on the source of travel funds. Travel using state funds will be reimbursed at the rates allowed by New Mexico’s Per Diem and Mileage Act. Travel using federal or private funds will be reimbursed at the foreign per diem rates established by the U.S. Department of State as approved by the funding agency or entity.  Actual costs will be reimbursed in accordance with state law upon completion of the travel reconciliation process. 

1. Travel Using State Funds

  • Travelers may receive reimbursement of actual lodging costs with prior approval by the president or designee. Itemized lodging receipts must be retained. In lieu of actual lodging costs, travelers may be reimbursed at a per diem rate consistent with New Mexico’s Per Diem and Mileage Act.
  • Meal reimbursement for up to $45 per full day is allowed.

2. Travel Using Federal or Other Non-State Funds

  • The Governing Board authorizes travel using federal funds or other non-State funds to be reimbursed at a rate allowed by the funding source.
  • Lodging and meals may be reimbursed at the international federal lodging, meal and incidental expenses rates located at the US Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location.
  • The traveler should provide a copy of the federal rates available at the above website.
  • Air fare shall be booked as stated in Section II(B) of this policy; however, pursuant to the Fly America Act, U.S. flag carriers must be used when traveling internationally with federal funding.  An exception to this requirement is air transportation provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transport agreement between the United States and a foreign country.

3. Conversion Rates

  • When requesting reimbursement, all amounts claimed should be in U.S. dollars. Each receipt should have the conversion to U.S. dollars noted next to the foreign charge. A conversion rate calculator is located here and printouts from the website should be included as supporting documentation. Credit card fees and currency conversion fees may also be included as part of the reimbursement request.

E. Immunizations, Visas, and Passports

1. Immunizations

  • Travelers are responsible for paying for the cost of any immunizations required prior to foreign travel. CNM will reimburse the cost of the immunization not covered by the employee’s health insurance.  If the employee’s health insurance does not cover any portion of the immunization costs, CNM will reimburse the full cost.

2. Visas

  • Where a visa is required for travel to a foreign country, CNM will pay for the cost to obtain a visa if such travel is for official CNM business. 

3. Passports

  • Travelers are responsible for paying the costs associated with obtaining a passport. In some instances, there may be an exception to this provision for student travelers.

IV. Travel Reconciliation

Travel reconciliation involves settling approved expenditures with itemized receipts of personal funds paid by employees while traveling on CNM business.

A. Itemized Receipts

1. All travelers must keep itemized receipts for expenses paid on personal credit cards or personal funds.

2. The itemized receipts must be submitted to the appropriate travel administrator or coordinator within five (5) working days after returning from college-sponsored travel.

V. Other Regulations

A. Travel Time

Travel time shall normally include time required to reach an approved destination via commercial air transportation and attendance of the approved function.  Additional travel time may be allowed if a cost savings for CNM can be documented. 

B. Canceled Travel

If travel is canceled, the employee will be required to repay any travel advances and nonrefundable conference fees.  The President may waive the repayment requirement of nonrefundable items under extraordinary circumstances such as, but not limited to, employee illness, death in the employee’s family, or canceled travel pursuant to Section III of this policy. 

C. Tax Status of Reimbursement

Payments made pursuant to this policy shall be considered as reimbursed expenses under a qualified, accountable reimbursement agreement for federal income tax purposes.  Employees shall provide CNM with travel expense receipts to substantiate that the travel expenses matched or exceeded the per diem payment.  If an employee fails to provide CNM with expense receipts, the portion of the per diem that is in excess of the standard rate will be included in the employee’s W-2 or 1099 form.  

D. Prohibited Expense

Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is not allowed.

6.04 Insurance Benefits

Revision Date: 3/14/23

Eligible employees may purchase health, life, dental, vision and disability insurance coverage through CNM's group insurance plan. A portion of the health insurance costs as provided by law and approved by the Governing Board is paid by the College; the remaining cost is paid by the employee. The College pays 100 percent of the basic life and disability insurance premiums. Also available is an Internal Revenue Service Section 125 Plan which allows employees to obtain certain benefits on a pretax basis.

  1. Eligibility
    1. Non-instructional and instructional support personnel who are on regular full- or part-time status and work 20 or more hours per week (as stated on the recommendation for employment form) are eligible for benefits. Employees who work at least 15 hours per week are eligible for basic life insurance.
    2. All regular full-time instructors, as defined in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, are eligible for insurance benefits.
    3. Regular part-time instructors, as defined in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, are eligible for insurance benefits in accordance with the requirements set forth in that collective bargaining agreement.
    4. Insurance benefits are not available to casual, substitute, or work-study employees, or temporary employees hired for six months or fewer.
  2. Enrollment
    1. To participate in any of the insurance plans, an employee must enroll within 30 days of becoming eligible. Coverage will begin on the first day of the following month.
    2. An employee wishing to apply for insurance after the 30 days have elapsed must qualify for the plan based on the insurance provider requirements.
  3. Premium
    1. Current rates and benefit schedules are available from the Human   Resources Department.
  4. Continued Coverage
    1. Persons who leave employment or lose eligibility may apply for continued private medical and life insurance coverage, paying the entire cost of the premiums. Details are available from the Human Resources Department.
    2. Retirees are eligible to apply for benefits under the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority. Details are available from the Human Resources Department.
    3. Employees on leave without pay, except those on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, shall pay 100 percent of the insurance premium. (See also Section 8.16.)

      6.05 Educational Retirement

      1. All employees except student workers enrolled at CNM, substitute instructors, and employees working less than one-quarter time are required to join the Educational Retirement Act (ERA) and retiree healthcare systems.
        1. Employees contribute a portion of their total earnings as provided by law. The amount is deducted from each paycheck. The College contributes a portion of total salaries to the fund. The rates are subject to change by legislative action.
        2. Employees may withdraw their ERA contributions when they terminate employment in New Mexico schools; retiree healthcare contributions may not be withdrawn. The amount contributed by the College remains in the retirement funds.
      2. Pamphlets published by the Educational Retirement Board are available in the Human Resources Department. Please consult these pamphlets for a full explanation of the benefits and the various retirement options available to the members.

      6.06 Social Security

      Most employees of the College are required to participate in the federal Social Security program (FICA). Employees contribute a portion of their total earnings as provided by federal law. The amount is deducted from each paycheck. The College contributes to the fund an amount equal to the deduction. The rates are subject to change by congressional action.

      6.07 Workers' Compensation

      1. Workers' compensation statutes for the state of New Mexico require that an employee who has suffered a work-related injury or illness notify the employer within 15 calendar days. Notification is necessary to ensure proper medical attention and accurate processing of compensation claims.
        1. Employees should report injuries to the Human Resources Department immediately and no later than 15 calendar days after the injury has occurred.
        2. The Human Resources Department provides notice of accident report forms and will report an injury to the Workers' Compensation Administration and the appropriate third party (insurance) administrator.
        1. The College has designated the Human Resources Department to administer workers' compensation issues.
        2. Employees who are injured at work should seek medical attention at an Occupational Healthcare Management Services (OHMS) approved facility. The list of such facilities is available at the Human Resources Department.
      2. Employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness may choose one of the following payment options:
        1. Payment for lost wages shall be made by the current workers' compensation insurance carrier at the rates determined by state law.
        2. Sick leave may not be used.
        3. During the duration of workers' compensation coverage, the College will continue to pay the employer's share of insurance premiums.
        1. Sick leave in lieu of workers' compensation
        2. Workers' compensation coverage
      3. Employees may switch payment options by submitting a written request to the appropriate vice president.
      4. Employees are assessed a workers' compensation fee each quarter. The College matches such fee.

      6.08 Employee Assistance Program

      Effective: 8/11/15

      Personal, family and work-related challenges can have an adverse effect on employee work performance. CNM is committed to helping its employees cope with these challenges by offering an Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”). The sole purpose of the EAP is to help CNM and its employees manage challenging situations by providing guidance and counseling. This service is provided by a third-party vendor with a network of trained professionals. All employees and their household members/dependents are eligible for EAP services at no cost.

      Mediation, training, and Critical Incident Stress Management services are also available through the EAP. Use of these services is coordinated through the Human Resources Department. Refer to The Source for more details regarding the use of the EAP.