October 17, 2014 by Justin Bannister, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers updated the Las Cruces campus Friday afternoon on measures NMSU is taking to reduce budget expenses following a decrease in fall enrollment. A decline in enrollment has a direct impact on NMSU’s finances, as revenue collected from tuition and fees supports the university’s I&G (Instruction and General) budget.
As a result of that decline in enrollment, university leaders spent the last few weeks meeting with stakeholders from colleges and units across campus to identify about $4.8 million in reduced expenditures to make up for the reduced revenue, which amounts to about 2.5 percent of NMSU’s unrestricted I&G budget.
During this process, Carruthers asked each dean and vice president to propose budget reductions specific to their colleges and units at 1 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent levels.
“I asked for different budget scenarios to ensure we would not have across-the-board reductions and to allow us the discretion of selecting certain reductions that would have the least impact on our teaching, research and outreach responsibilities,” Carruthers said. “We also asked each college and unit to prioritize their reductions to ensure everyone understood the effects of these actions. All along, our goal has been to streamline our operation while also protecting the core mission of NMSU.”
In the end, about 61 percent of NMSU’s reduced expenditures will come from administrative budgets at the university and about 38 percent will come from academic budgets. A good share of the reduced expenditures is directly related to salary savings from delaying when vacant positions are filled. The university also saw significant savings from sweeping carry-forward money from budgets and from adjusting energy usage.
“These reductions do not impact summer school or other important student services,” Carruthers said. “We also do not anticipate these reductions to be permanent and we are even adding new faculty lines in certain programs as a result of decisions finalized before enrollment numbers were in.”
Carruthers also stressed the importance of increasing enrollment at NMSU.
“Going forward, I want everyone to understand that we are all in the enrollment game,” he said. “While softer enrollment numbers seem to be a trend for most of higher education in New Mexico, we do not plan to take this issue lying down. We must be proactive in winning more than our fair share of new students. We all must take part in the recruitment of new students and in showing everyone the value of a degree from New Mexico State University.”