The UNM Board of Regents decided not to increase student fees and approved a 5.5 percent tuition-and-fee increase that will raise costs to students roughly $305 next year.
Tuition alone will increase 7 percent next year. The regents retracted a proposal to increase student fees by $40 per student, dropping the total tuition-and-fee increase from 6.3 to 5.5 percent. Overall in-state tuition will be $5,810 next year.
President David Schmidly praised the regents for completing “the most constructive budget process to ever take place at the University.”
UNM expects to make more than $6.5 million in tuition revenue next year, but because of the tuition credit, the state will take more than $3.8 million from the University. Since UNM may undergo more than $4.6 million in revenue reductions, the University is left with roughly $1.9 million in total revenue from tuition and fees.
“The Legislature imposes this 3.1 percent tuition credit, so I saw it as a 3 percent tuition increase,” student regent Jake Wellman said. “This, in my eyes, is something I’m willing to pay for — $2 million invested in new faculty members who will really make my education enriching.”
Although the Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee recommended the $40 student fee increase, the measure didn’t have enough support from the full board. Instead, the regents approved a proposal 5-2 to not increase student fees.
Regents Jamie Koch and Gene Gallegos voted in favor of increasing student fees. Gallegos said students can afford the additional fee.
“I have a daughter who goes to UNM,” he said. “In regard to a $40 increase, I’m indifferent, but she’ll pop down $50 for a concert.”
The majority of the regents thought otherwise.
“I think that it represents a budget that the different constituent groups really worked on understanding — that we have the tuition credit we have to deal with. And what is the most minimal amount that we could really come up with to cover some of the increased costs without really doing harm to the students?” Regent Carolyn Abeita said.
The tuition credit instituted by the State Legislature mandated a baseline 3.1 percent tuition increase for New Mexico public higher education institutions.
“(The tuition credit) kind of the ties the hands of not just decision-makers, but the regents,” Wellman said. “In order to run a University that is going to be the best in New Mexico, in the Southwest, or in the nation, you have to invest in it and tuition is one revenue source.”
Cutting the fat
The regents also approved $10.5 million in University-wide cuts.
The board approved $900,000 in cuts recommended by the Provost’s Office, including provisions to cut more than $167,000 from the Dean of Students by eliminating the senior program manager and merging the Dean of Students and the associate vice president of Student Life positions.
“I really think it reflects some hard work, and it will make a tight budget for the administration, but I think it’s something that everybody can live with,” Abeita said.
Regents also approved cutting more than $136,000 from the Office of Equity and Inclusion, $100,000 from Athletics, $300,000 from Continuing Education and more than $1.6 million from the UNM Foundation.
Information Technologies received a roughly $2 million funding cut, and academic departments across the University will see more than $870,000 in cuts through various cost-containment measures.
The Anderson School of Management and the Education Department will take the brunt of the cuts, each amounting to more than $160,000. Public Administration will see more than $8,000 in cuts. Arts and Sciences was exempted from budget cuts.
Chelsea Erven contributed to this report.