The University of New Mexico approved an additional tuition cost that charges undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) $10 per credit hour on top of other tuition and fee costs. Graduate students in A&S will be charged an additional $50 per credit hour. Unlike base tuition, differential tuition goes back into A&S' budget.
The cost increase comes with a student fee increase, base tuition increase and additional premiums on upper-division courses (including graduate courses) passed by the Board of Regents as a part of the 2020 budget.
However, it’s unclear exactly how much the overall cost of attendance will increase. At the first Budget Summit, UNM President Garnett Stokes provided the public with exact totals based on 15 credit hour course loads for undergraduates.
“The current financial situation forces the College of Arts and Sciences to request differential tuition to cover the extraordinary costs of instruction, and to better reflect the value of the degrees produced by its many programs,” said Mark Peceny, dean of Arts and Sciences, in the A&S proposal for differential tuition.
According to the proposal, A&S expects the increase to generate an additional $1,733,170 for the college. Peceny said the money had not been earmarked yet because the first budget summit was postponed a week. He said he would like to have more concrete plans on how to spend the money by the end of the semester.
“The point behind all of this is to create more opportunities for the students tuition dollars to go directly to the units that are providing the services for them,” Peceny said after the budget summit.
According to a survey conducted by A&S, 56 percent of undergraduates supported the increased cost. The proposal described it as a “clear majority.” The survey also gave respondents a chance to comment anonymously.
One student wrote: “I would be willing to pay the differential as long as I'm seeing tangible results at some point.”
Another student wrote: “Please, if you absolutely have to increase the tuition, make sure it goes towards something great, because I am already struggling to pay for tuition now that the lottery scholarship was decreased immensely and that tuition (was) increased. If these prices increase, it's going to be so difficult for me to pay for school, even more than what it already is.”
Pency said that he wanted to consult students from undergraduate-student government before commenting on what the additional money would be used for. He said he planned on speaking with A&S senators in the Associated Students of the UNM and Joint Council for input.
A&S is not the only college at UNM to implement differential tuition — the School of Engineering and Anderson School of Management charge their students the additional differential.
According to UNM policy, differential tuition is set to be implemented by the Fall 2019 semester.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.