The University of New Mexico’s performance hall, Popejoy Hall, has announced they are pulling back student discounts for Broadway productions due to issues with funding provided by the Student Fee Review Board (SFRB).
By mid-September most of the student fee revenue that was dispersed to Popejoy was used up due to student subscriptions and the high demand for Wicked tickets, according to Terry Davis, the marketing manager for PopeJoy Hall. That, paired with UNM’s decrease in student enrollment, hit Popejoy in their pockets.
UNM’s enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year is down by 7.17 percent from last year according to the Fall 2018 official enrollment report.
“As has been our practice since we started receiving student fees in 1998, we offer student discounts on subscriptions and individual tickets until student fees run out,” Davis said. “Even then, we offer single ticket discounts of 40 percent on some of our shows. We just can’t do so for the Broadway shows.”
Popejoy Hall is hosting a series of Broadway shows this year, including Wicked, Finding Neverland and the Sound of Music during the 2018-2019 season.
The SFRB plans a budget from the money collected from student fees that each student pays to attend UNM, and distributes them to student organizations and student services each fiscal year. Every March the SFRB makes a recommendation on the disbursement of money to the Strategic Budget Leadership Team, which is then presented to the UNM Board of Regents.
Although the discounts for the 2018-2019 school year have been discontinued, Popejoy submitted a request for funding for the 2019-2020 school year.
“We got told that the University would reduce our student fee allocation due to lower than expected enrollment,” Davis said. “At that point, we stopped offering student discounts to Wicked and other Broadway shows.”
Becka Myers, chair of the SFRB, recently said that requests for funding from SFRB have exceeded their available funds by about $4 million. It has been estimated by the Office of the Provost that cuts to organizations that rely on student fees could be as high as 12 percent if those cuts were fully implemented.
Popejoy will still offer 40 percent off discounts to the other 19 shows in their season, including Lea Salonga, The Beach Boys, Steel Magnolias and David Sedaris.
Although the student discounts for Broadway shows are discontinued for the season, Davis said that depending on the funding Popejoy receives for the 2019-20 year, the student discounts for Broadway shows have a possibility of coming back.
“If (the Student Fee Review Board) approves that request, we will again offer discounts to all our shows, again contingent on how long the funding for those discounts lasts,” Davis said.
UNM student Eric Blowers said that he doesn’t feel great about the student discount being terminated for the remainder of this season.
“I guess that's bad because you could have taken people on dates there or just go there for fun and now it’s gone,” Blowers said.
A list of remaining shows for Popejoys season, including Broadway shows and smaller productions, can be found on their site.
Shayla Cunico is the culture editor and music editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShaylaCunico.