The Board of Regents on Friday approved a $50 student fee increase to fund Athletics.
The Regents’ finalized budget for FY 2013 includes a 3.75 percent increase in tuition and a $66.71 per-student increase in student fees, which is made up of the $16.71 increase recommended by the Student Fee Review Board and the $50 increase to fund Athletics. Students will pay $553.20 per student in activity fees next year.
The SFRB 2013 recommendations included an $81.75 per-student allocation for Athletics, which is the same amount the department received this year. The regents’ increase will fund Athletics at $131.75 per student next year.
Athletics Director Paul Krebs said the $50 increase is a loan that the department will pay back to UNM. He said the payment plan has already been added to the department’s budget for next year so Athletics can start paying the loan back as soon as possible.
Regent James Koch said Athletics student fee revenue at UNM is about $1.8 million, which is significantly less than the $3.5 million in student fees Athletics at NMSU receives.
“I understand the concerns about student fees, but people need to pay attention to these kinds of numbers so we see it in perspective,” he said. “Athletics has always been in the black, except for the past two or three years.”
UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said the 3.75 percent increase in tuition will allow UNM to hire new faculty, graduate assistants and teaching assistants, improve graduation and retention rates and help fund need-based financial aid. He said the increase will also help ensure faculty members are fairly compensated and that without increased faculty compensation, UNM will lose faculty who have proven their worth.
“Without an increase we won’t be able to maintain the requirement the regents expect of us and the quality of education,” he said. “We need the increase to compensate everyone fairly.”
Regent Gene Gallegos said he supports Abdallah’s academic plan. He said the plan is the best decision that the University could make from a budget and mission standpoint.
GPSA President Katie Richardson said Abdallah’s academic plan will benefit UNM from an academic standpoint, but the fee increase to fund Athletics will not.
“The major disappointment is that we saw a $50 fee increase … for athletics alone.”