The University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted to approve an increase in student tuition proposed by the Budget Leadership Team during Thursday’s budget summit.
There will be a 2.5 percent tuition increase, along with a $7 premium and 2.39 percent fee increase for each upper division course. This will be applied to all students.
The charts supplied by the BLT reflect the following monetary increases after the increased tuition, increased fees and new premiums are applied:
- Students enrolled in zero upper division courses will receive an estimated $88.23 increase.
- Students enrolled in 1 to 6 upper division courses will receive an estimated $95.30 to $130.31 increase.
- Students enrolled in 7 to 12 upper division courses will receive an estimated $137.31 to $172.31 increase.
- Students enrolled in 13 to 18 upper division courses will receive an estimated $179.31 to $214.31 increase.
Additionally, UNM graduate students will be receiving a 4.3 percent increase.
Terry Babbitt, the associate vice president of Enrollment Management, told the regents that the BLT feels keeping costs low for the first category of students is vital for strong enrollment rates.
“This model allows the least increase for the lowest division where we have the most competition,” he said.
Babbitt said students enrolled in lower division courses are often “the most vulnerable population.”
Prospective UNM students sometimes choose to complete core requirements at junior colleges at a lower cost, then transfer those classes when enrolling at UNM, Babbitt said.
UNM has lost thousands of lower division credit hours in the past — meaning credits were transferred over and not taken at UNM. Therefore, the price of lower division classes must remain the lowest, he said.
Regent Thomas Clifford supported the model. However, he also mentioned a concern.
“Lower income students should pay less, but the degree is not less valuable to a lower income student,” Clifford said. “I think we should be careful about this reallocation model. I know there is a scholarship need, but I would request that the board as a whole be briefed about the whole (distribution) structure.”
These tuition increases will result in an estimated $4,433,077 in annual revenue for the University.
A majority of these new revenues will be devoted to benefiting the students, faculty and staff of UNM, BLT’s presentation said.
$1.76 million will be designated for students and split across various proposed benefits such as financial aid, campus safety, tuition waivers, among others.
Campus safety was of particular priority in the proposition. In total, $765,000 will go toward safety developments, and $116,000 will be used to create a new UNM Police Chief of Security.
$105,000 will be given to LoboRESPECT for various improvements.
$150,000 will continue to go toward security cameras and lights from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2024.
However, Building Renewal and Replacement will also be funding security cameras and lights with an additional $350,000, resulting in $500,000 total.
Regent Michael Brasher, who was officially appointed Wednesday by Gov. Susana Martinez, was not entirely satisfied with the safety plan. He said after the budget summit that he would like to see a “more robust” safety plan.
UNM faculty and staff would also be allotted $2.126 million and $1.10 million, respectively.
Dorothy Anderson, the vice president for Human Resources, explained that the BLT officially recommends a 1 percent salary increase for non-probationary employees, while also leaving room for a 2 to 3 percent increase reserved for employees who demonstrate exceptional performance.
The pay bump seemed well received by staff and faculty alike, possibly because they have not received a raise since the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Faculty Senate President Pamela Pyle said she was in favor of the tuition increase and compared the increased fees to the price of “one reputable textbook.”
Danelle Callan, the Staff Council president, also ruled in favor of the raise but asked, “How much of a 1 percent increase will be pocketed after taxes?”
The proposal also received an official endorsement from the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico President Noah Brooks — a contrast to his opposition to tuition increases over the past year — and Graduate and Professional Student Association President Alaa Elmaoued.
Finally, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes asked the Board of Regents to approve the recommendation increase in tuition and fees presented by the BLT.
Brasher voted against the motion while the remaining regents voted in the affirmative.
Austin Tyra is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers the Board of Regents. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @AustinATyra.