LCSN: NMSU Regents to set tuition, housing rates today

April 1, 2010. Retrieved online: April 1, 2010, from Amanda L. Husson, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University students could be paying hundreds more per semester for their education next year, if a proposed tuition increase is approved by the Board of Regents at a special meeting today.

A recommendation to be presented by Jennifer Taylor, vice president for business and finance, advocates an 8 percent increase for in-state tuition and fees; that’s $201 per semester for undergraduates and $222 for graduate students. Out-of-state students would face a 10 percent increase: $765 per semester for undergraduates and $777 for graduate students, under the same proposal.

Taylor said her office arrived at the tuition recommendation by balancing two concerns: The need to keep the cost of attending NMSU below the median of its peer institutions and the need to maintain the quality of education and programs available.

NMSU has identified 15 schools as peer institutions for purposes of comparison, including the University of New Mexico, University of Texas at El Paso, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, University of Arizona, University of Wyoming and Utah State.

“We’re in the lower half of that group of peers, and we want to stay in that lower half,” Taylor said Wednesday. “But we want to make sure that we meet the quality standards.”

Taylor emphasized that the recommended tuition increase is just a part of the plan to deal with the estimated $12 million reduction in state appropriations for instruction and general funding at the main campus. She said the university has looked at tuition and other sources of revenue as well as areas where expenses can be reduced.

Also up for approval by the board are housing and meal plan rates, for which Taylor’s office recommends a 3-percent increase. The primary meal plan for students is $1,355 per semester, so a 3-percent increase would cost students about $40 more per semester.

Associated Students of NMSU President Travis Dulany, a graduate student, said any tuition increase is tough on students, but the board must balance that with the need to maintain academics.

“Obviously, we are hoping that the board would go with the lowest possible tuition rate without sacrificing programs,” he said.

Regents Chairman Isaac Pino said the university hasn’t arrived at the decision to raise tuition lightly, and a wide spectrum of potential options have been considered.

“My sense is that the tuition increase is essential, because of a couple of things,” he said, noting he was speaking only for himself and not the board. “Mainly because the cuts that we have to do are due to flagging revenue at the state, and we don’t have any reason to believe there will be any increase in that.”

Read the article.

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