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Monday, December 22, 2014

Regents considering new tuition policies

assistant-news@dailylobo.com
@ChloeHenson5

The UNM Board of Regents will hear about a potential new tuition model today that could help students dodge tuition increases.

In an email sent to the Daily Lobo, Regent Bradley Hosmer said the UNM Board of Regents requested a guaranteed tuition model so students can pay a slightly higher, guaranteed amount for tuition each year.

“The regents asked for a guaranteed tuition option to be worked up as part of the budget for next year,” he said. “Our thought is that some families may prefer to pay a small premium in exchange for complete certainty about the bill they will face in the following three years.”

There are two guaranteed tuition models, one that would charge students an additional 10 percent, and another that would charge an additional eight percent, according to the Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis website.

The guaranteed tuition model that will be presented to the regents would potentially charge students $7091.70, an additional 10 percent of their tuition, in exchange for guaranteeing them a constant tuition rate, according to a document presented at the meeting.

The traditional tuition model allows the Board of Regents to set the tuition rate each year, according to the Tuition and Related Fees policy.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Terry Babbitt said students would be notified that there would need to be about a 6.4 percent increase in tuition each year in order for that plan to be effective.

He said students would also be given tuition history to help with their decision.

“That information would be very clear to students and families if this became a real option,” Babbitt said in an email. “We would also put out the average tuition increase the last three or four years for comparison.”

Babbitt started working on the model back in September 2013, according to a Tuition and Fee Policy Committee work plan.

Despite the slight increase in cost, Hosmer said students can’t lose money by signing up for the tuition model.

“They can’t lose, since if they pay more than their classmates going the usual route, the difference will be refunded,” he said.

Babbitt, who will present the model to the regents in today’s meeting, said students could choose whether they want to go with a traditional model or a guaranteed model.

“If it went forward, it would strictly be an option,” he said.

Babbitt will also present a progress report on the tuition model as an information item, according to the agenda for the meeting.

If the proposed model is passed by the regents at a future meeting, Hosmer said he doesn’t know how popular the model will be.

“We have no idea how many families will make this choice,” he said. “But we’ll know later this year.”

The regents meeting will be held in the Student Union Building in Ballroom C at 9 a.m.