Despite a bump in state funding, the University of New Mexico still feels budget pressure due to enrollment shortfalls, resulting in declining tuition and student fee revenues.

Those concerns are front and center in UNM’s 2020 fiscal year proposals, which include a tuition increase, a pay bump for employees and an additional fee for technology.



Proposals will be vetted on Tuesday at the Budget Summit, which will be held in the Student Union Building in Ballroom C at 9:00 a.m. The summit will be incorporated into the regularly scheduled Board of Regents meeting.

The Budget Leadership Team (BLT) is responsible for developing the fiscal year 2020 projections and recommendations for managing a multi-million dollar budget. 

The group is made up of various department deans, administrators, constituency groups (faculty, staff, Associated Students of UNM, and Graduate and Professional Students Association).

BLT is jointly-chaired by interim Provost Richard Wood and Craig White, the interim senior vice president for finance. 

The 2020 fiscal year recommendations going before the Board of Regents will include a one-time transfer from main campus reserves and restructuring of where services get money.

The big picture

UNM received a 6.9 percent increase in state funding; that’s an additional $12.6 million in the bank, according to the Office of Government Relations.

According to the BLT, the Instruction and General (I&G) fund, which provides for nearly all academic funding, saw $5.7 million in growth, to a total of $288 million.

The BLT is recommending a one-time use of central reserves, the University’s annual savings.

The transfer would have to be approved by the Board of Regents and “will be done only when necessary for the fiscal health of the University,” according to the University Administrative Policy 7000.

The proposed transfer from reserves is be a 661 percent increase from $500,000 to $3.3 million according to the drafted BLT recommendation.

Tuition, fees and enrollment, oh my!

The University has been affected by sharp declines in both tuition and student fees because of a 7 drop in enrollment in the fall 2018 semester. The drop in 2018 was anticipated to be only 2.5 percent — a drastic 4.7 difference.

That’s nearly $10 million in lost revenue for 2018. Tuition losses totaled $7.6 million, and student fees $2.1 million, according to Provost Richard Wood at a fall 2018 meeting.

Enrollment has declined at UNM since 2014 from nearly 28,000 students to just over 22,000 in total 2018 headcount according to campus enrollment reports. That’s 13 percent in five years. And it’s not over.

The 2019 Enrollment Report shows that total headcount for UNM shrunk an additional 7 percent between Spring 2018 and 2019. At the undergraduate level — a difference of 1,419 students.

For context, the one year change for 2017 to 2018 in the spring was a 4 percent decline.

Because of the decline in enrollment, the 2020 fiscal year projections by the BLT are estimating a 10 percent loss in tuition revenue — $13.3 million. Mandatory student fees are also projected to decline by 7.5 percent, or $2.7 million.

In 2018, the Board of Regents approved a 2.5 percent tuition increase and a 2.39 fee increase for all University students.

And students may have to pay more.

There is a proposal for tuition increase for both undergraduate and graduate students. Other considerations to be made will include a possible additional technology fee.

There are three proposals to implement the fee, ranging from $47 to $110. One of the plans would implement the ability to allow students to download the Adobe Creative suite, and requires funding for the licensing.

Under the proposal, base tuition would stay the same, but there would be a premium increase for both upper division classes and graduate classes.

According to the proposal with premium increases and technology fee:

  • At the current rate, students taking 15 credit hours of only lower division classes (between tuition and student fees) pay $3,661. Under the proposal they would pay an additional $82 per semester.
  • A student taking 15 credit hours of all upper division classes pays $4,036. Under the proposal, they would pay an additional $232 per semester. 
  • Graduate students taking 12 credit hours currently pay $4,471 a semester. Under the proposed changes, they would pay an additional $188 per semester.

All changes are subject to the Board of Regents approval. The Daily Lobo will be providing additional coverage of the 2019-2020 Budget Summit. 

Danielle Prokop is a senior reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @ProkopDani.