State Approving Agency


The New Mexico State Approving Agency (SAA) evaluates, approves, and monitors certain academic institutions, schools, and programs. For veterans or other eligible persons to use the GI Bill® when participating in a program of study, the program must lead to educational, vocational, and/or professional objectives.

The SAA operates under a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as part of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NMDVS) and is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The New Mexico SAA is under the administration of the VA Regional Processing Office (RPO) in Muskogee, OK.

The State Approving Agency (SAA) – Approval Authority

The SAA is responsible for the approval of ALL NEW schools, training facilities and non-governmental testing organizations.  The SAA has new or revised program approval jurisdiction at the following:

  • Accredited and Non-Accredited Programs
  • On-The- Job Training/Apprenticeship Programs
  • High Schools
  • Licensing and Certificates
  • Flight Training


SAA responsibilities under federal law are as follows:

  • Inspect, approve and supervise applicable schools and inspect the academic records of GI Bill® recipients.
  • Identify education and training programs, and licensing and certification tests that may be approved for veterans and other eligible persons at applicable schools and testing organizations.
  • Determine whether a school or testing organization complies with established standards, including the equitable treatment of veterans.
  • Identify waste, fraud, or other abuse by persons, practices, or policy connected with educational institutions, training establishments and testing organizations where veterans are using federal veterans’ education benefits.
  • Since the enactment of PL 111-377, SAAs now participate in VA Compliance Surveys (CS) at approved schools and training institutions. In conducting a CS, the SAA will ensure that schools, training institutions, and approved programs, comply with all applicable provisions of the laws administered by VA.

The SAA ensures that standards are set and maintained among applicable schools, training facilities and testing organizations prior to allowing veterans or other eligible persons to enroll and use their GI Bill® benefits. For more information about GI Bill Education Benefits go to:

Marilyn (Mandy) Dykman, who prior to coming to the NMDVS worked as the Director and School Certifying Official at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Veterans Resource Center, manages the SAA. She served eight years with the Army as a UH-1 Huey Pilot, and then transferred to the Coast Guard in 1991, becoming the first female Hispanic pilot—she flew the HH65 Dolphin helicopter, conducting search/rescue, fisheries, law enforcement patrols and marine safety. Mandy eventually retired from the Coast Guard in 2004.

SAA Director Mandy Dykman can be contacted at (505) 383-2418 or   More information about the SAA can be found at

 State Approving AgencyMandy

Marilyn Dykman, Director

(505) 383-2418