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Next Step Plan 2021-09-27T10:49:39-06:00

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Next Step Plan (NSP)

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) realizes the value the Next Step Plan (NSP) has in supporting students’ college and career goals. The College and Career Readiness Bureau (CCRB) is working with counselors across the state to adapt and improve the NSP process for students.

The resources and information below is the foundation for implementation of Next Step Plans at your district or school. However, each district and school can modify the NSP as needed to support students. The NSP is not one-size fits all.

If you would like to be a part of the support team that is working on improving the NSP, please contact CCRB’s point of contact for Next Step Plans as found on the CCRB staff page.

What is the Next Step Plan (NSP)?

  • The NSP is a personal, written plan that is developed by each student at the end of grades 8–11 and during the senior year (grade 12).
  • The purpose of the plan is to target the student’s postsecondary interests, and set forth the studies he or she will complete during high school in order to be on track for graduation. The student reviews and updates his or her NSP annually, and each year’s plan must explain any differences from the previous year’s NSP.
  • For grades 8–11, the plan is called an interim NSP, and for grade 12 it is called a final NSP.


  • State rule requires that each year’s NSP must be completed within 60 days of the preceding school year.
  • Each student must complete a final NSP during the senior year (grade 12) and prior to graduation. The final NSP is filed in the student’s cumulative file upon graduation.
  • Under state law at Subsection B of 12-2A-3 NMSA 1978, a person is no longer a minor the moment he or she turns 18 years old. Therefore, for schools working with a student who is 18 or older, parental signature and approval of the NSP is not required.
  • The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team for grades 8–12 must incorporate all of the state’s NSP requirements into the student’s IEP. Once a student reaches age 14, the IEP must also include all the transition IEP requirements of state special rule at Subsection G of NMAC and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at 34 CFR Secs. 300.320(b) and 300.324(c).



Page last updated September 27, 2021