The University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents voted to increase the mandatory student activity fee by 3%.
The fee for undergraduates taking 15 credit hours will increase by $23.88 and $21.52 for graduate students taking 12 credit hours.
The Student Fee Review Board is a group of undergraduate and graduate representatives that allocate the mandatory activity fee that all students pay toward various organizations and resource centers on campus, according to their website.
Because the SFRB funding recommendation surpassed the projected revenue from mandatory student fees, SFRB asked for a 5.05% increase to cover that shortfall, according to Ian May, chair of the SFRB and president of the Associated Students at UNM.
The fee increase will cover about three-fifths of the costs that are higher than the mandatory student fee revenues. The other two-fifths will be funded by pulling from the Board of Regents’ reserve, according to May.
“Everything that was funded in our proposals would be good for this next upcoming academic year,” May said.
In order to fund organizations next year, the SFRB will need to find a way to supplement the 2.05%, according to May.
The regents had been presented with three recommendations that could have been amended if requested, according to UNM spokesperson Cinnamon Blair.
Recommendation A proposed an increase of 3% to the student activity fee this year,, outlined a 2.05% student activity fee increase the following year and a 3% raise in tuition. Recommendation B proposed an increase of 3% to the student activity fee and a 2% raise in tuition. Recommendation C proposed an increase of 3% to the student activity fee and did not increase tuition.
Ultimately, the regents voted for Recommendation C, although they did not vote on whether the fee should increase again by 2.05% the following year. The SFRB could start the process again in the fall to recommend that increase.
The regents said they hope to see an increase in enrollment next school year which could potentially cover the rejected increase, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
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Several projects in the SFRB’s recommendation were not requested by organizations but instead chosen by the board. Many of these projects were planned to be funded via the reserves and still will be, according to May. This includes the one-time funding to pay off the Student Publications deficit of $252,000.
SFRB recommended that the deficit be paid due to the length of time it remained unpaid as well as advertising revenue that has been falling since 2014.
“We believe it is warranted in this situation because of the length of time this debt has remained unpaid. It is our hope to boost morale and stake in the unit once employees are fundraising for tangible increases in student experience rather than chipping away at an unpayable debt,” SFRB wrote in their recommendation.
Maddie Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maddogpukite