Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NMSU increases tuition and other fees: “A necessary evil”

LAS CRUCES – After a short discussion, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved a 4 percent tuition increase, which will apply to most students, on Monday morning.

The increases will apply to all campuses, including Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Grants and Doña Ana Community College starting in the fall 2022 semester.

The regents also approved a new academic services fee at $20 per credit hour and higher parking pass prices.

“I don’t think anybody wants to propose an increase in fees at any time,” said Associated Students of NMSU President Mathew Madrid, who was consulted by the regents as a student voice. “We all worked very diligently and consciously of that. But we decided unanimously that if we wanted to see the continued trajectory of growth that we’re experiencing now exiting the pandemic, as we, hopefully, return to a more normal life, the increase in fees was a necessary evil.”

The increase in fees and tuition were also supported by student regent Neal Bitsie, who attends graduate school at the university.

Bitsie said that compared to last year’s proposal, which also included an academic service fee that the regents rejected, this presentation was much more comprehensive. The other regents agreed.

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“I appreciate the attention to detail in this presentation towards what potential investments this might go towards,” Bitsie said. “This presentation was a little more transparent than the one I had last year.”

Neal Bitsie attends a New Mexico State Board of Regents meeting on NMSU campus in Las Cruces on Thursday, Dec.  9, 2021.

NMSU last approved a tuition increase in April 2020, although the 3 percent hike applied only to main campus students, not to those enrolled in DACC or the branch campuses. In 2021, the regents passed a differential tuition, which increased the price per class for engineering and nursing students, but didn’t affect other students.

The 2022 tuition increase will be 4 percent for most students and 8 percent for graduate students enrolled in NMSU online.

“This is a good time for us to be thinking about making those strategic investments in the university in order to move it forward,” said regent Chair Ammu Devasthali. “Like both Neal and Mathew said, nobody likes to increase tuition. Definitely we don’t like to increase fees on the students. But sometimes those painful decisions have to be made, and I think this is one of those times.”

NMSU’s rationale for these changes

NMSU Chief Budget Officer Kim Rumford presented the tuition and fee proposal to the regents.

Rumford’s presentation rationalized the increases with the rising cost of doing business, including a state-mandated 3 percent salary increase and $15 minimum wage for all university employees.

The regents acknowledged that an increase in pay for faculty and staff is necessary, and these increases could help the university afford those salaries.

Chancellor Dan Arvizu said he supports the new $15 minimum, but it will take some adjusting as far as moving up all employees’ pay grades.

“We all know that everything is costing a lot more,” said Arvizu during the meeting. “It’s very, very clear that the cost of, essentially, providing an education has increased.”

The $20 per credit hour will contribute to a 6.7 percent increase in fees. The academic service fee will replace the distance education fee of $25 for an online or hybrid class.

Rumford explained that this change is more equitable because the fee that previously applied only for students “online” was being used to pay for resources that all students are now using.

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After the COVID-19 pandemic and months of online and hybrid learning, professors were trained to use resources like Canvas, Zoom, Adobe and others. Now that they have all that training, professors are using them broadly even for fully in-person classes.

“It doesn’t seem fair to charge a small subset of students for the technology that’s being used by the greater population,” Rumford said during his presentation.

This service fee is projected to bump the budget by $3.3 million for the Las Cruces campus alone. It’s also expected to bring in $32,000 for the Alamogordo campus and $1.2 million for the DACC campus.

NMSU Vice Chancellor and Strategic Chief Financial Officer Ruth Johnston said that with the new funds made available, the university can put money toward student service resources such as increased mental health counseling and academic tutoring. She added that it could help meet the needs for graduate students support. Graduate student workers have been asking for tuition remission, better pay and more health insurance options.

In March, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill aiming to extend free college tuition to most New Mexico residents attending in-state colleges and universities by expanding the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship.

The law covers tuition and fees for undergraduate students at two- or four-year higher education institutions, including tribal colleges, in the state. Students are required to enroll in at least six and no more than 18 credit hours and maintain a 2.5 grade-point average. Eligible students may pursue career training certificates as well as associate’s or bachelor’s degrees.

With this in mind, NMSU doesn’t expect these rate changes to affect enrollment. Rumford said fall 2022 is anticipated to have a flat enrollment. In fall 2021, the enrollment rate dropped by about 3 percent.

Parking fees

Auxiliary Services Director Ophelia Watkins introduced a proposed 5.5 percent increase in parking fees, which would bring in approximately $45,000 in revenue.

New Mexico State University will up its fees in fall 2022 with an increase of 4.4% in tuition, 6.7% in fees and 5.5% in parking.

“We do have free parking on campus,” Watkins said. “We’re one of the few universities in the west that does. While it’s free to people to use, it is not free to (maintain).

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Watkins said that about $34,000 of the revenue made from the change will go toward the increase in minimum wage and employee compensation.

The regents quickly voted in favor of the change.

Miranda Cyr, a Report for America corps member, can be reached at [email protected] or @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program at https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.

Tuition hikes for main campus undergraduate students

Part-time in-state students (less than 15 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $304.20
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $317.80
  • Increase per credit hour: $13.60 or 4.5%

Full-time in-state students (at least 15 credit hours):

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $4,022.20
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $4,204.10
  • Increase per semester: $181.90 or 4.5%

Part-time students (less than 15 credit hours) who live out of state but within 135 miles of Las Cruces:

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $329.37
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $343.98
  • Increase per credit hour: $14.61 or 4.4%

Full-time students (at least 15 credit hours) who live out of state but within 135 miles of Las Cruces:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $4,345.67
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $4,540.51
  • Increase per semester: $194.84 or 4.5%

Part-time out-of-state students (1 to 6 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $367.13
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $383.25
  • Increase per credit hour: $13 or 4.4%

Part-time out-of-state students (7 to 14 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $990.30
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $1,031.30
  • Increase per credit hour: $41 or 4.1%

Full time out-of-state students (at least 15 credit hours):

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $12,833
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $13,367
  • Increase per semester: $534.30 or 4.2%

NMSU online students:

  • Current cost per credit hour: $380.20
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour: $395.40
  • Increase per credit hour: $15.21 or 4%

Tuition hikes for graduate students

Part-time in-state students (less than 15 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $329.20
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $343.80
  • Increase per credit hour: $14.60 or 4.4%

Full-time in-state students (at least 15 credit hours):

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $4,343.20
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $4,537.90
  • Increase per semester: $194.70 or 4.5%

Part-time students (less than 15 credit hours) who live out of state but within 135 miles of Las Cruces:

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $356.97
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $372.58
  • Increase per credit hour: $15.61 or 4.4%

Full-time students (at least 15 credit hours) who live out of state but within 135 miles of Las Cruces:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $4,698.77
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $4,907.69
  • Increase per semester: $208.92 or 4.4%

Part-time out-of-state students (1 to 6 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $398.38
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $415.75
  • Increase per credit hour: $17.38 or 4.4%

Part-time out-of-state students (7 to 14 credit hours):

  • Current cost per credit hour with fees: $1,015.30
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour with fees: $1,057.30
  • Increase per credit hour: $42 or 4.1%

Full time out-of-state students (at least 15 credit hours):

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $13,152.40
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $13,699.50
  • Increase per semester: $547.1or 4.2%

NMSU online students:

  • Current cost per credit hour: $411.50
  • Fall 2022 cost per credit hour: $444.40
  • Increase per credit hour: $32.92 or 8%

Tuition hikes for students at branch campuses

Doña Ana Community College resident in-district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $888
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $921
  • Increase per semester: $33 or 3.7%

Doña Ana Community College resident out-of-district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $1,080
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $1,119
  • Increase per semester: $39 or 3.6%

Dona Ana Community College non-resident:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $2,832
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $2,940
  • Increase per semester: $108 or 3.8%

NMSU Alamogordo resident in district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $1,032
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $1,068
  • Increase per semester: $36 or 3.5%

NMSU Alamogordo resident out of district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $1,212
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $1,260
  • Increase per semester: $48 or 4%

NMSU Alamogordo non-resident:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $2,688
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $2,796
  • Increase per semester: $108 or 4%

NMSU Grants resident in district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $1,032
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $1,068
  • Increase per semester: $36 or 3.5%

NMSU Grants resident out-of-district:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $1,140
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $1,188
  • Increase per semester: $48 or 4.2%

NMSU Grants non-resident:

  • Current tuition and fees per semester: $2,052
  • Fall 2022 tuition and fees per semester: $2,136
  • Increase per semester: $84 or 4.1%

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