April 5, 2012 by Julie M. Hughes, NMSU News Center
At a special meeting April 5, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved a 3.7-percent increase in tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students at the main campus in Las Cruces for 2012-2013.
“New Mexico State has done an extremely good job of living within our means during these very difficult times. These recommendations represent the right direction to help our students, as well as our faculty and staff,” said Regent Laura Conniff.
NMSU President Barbara Couture said the increase from tuition will be coupled with new state appropriation funding to help the university reinvest in strategic priorities after several years of dealing with funding decreases. Even with an increase in funding for fiscal year 2013, NMSU Las Cruces has experienced a reduction in state appropriations of more than $28 million since fiscal year 2009.
“We are so thankful for the increased state appropriations that we will receive due to the new funding formula and as we begin to see signs of financial stability, we feel it is critical that we cautiously reinvest in our university. However, the increases do not make up for the losses we experienced during the past few years,” Couture said. “We must recognize the challenges created by the recent years of budget cuts and invest to keep the university competitive; at the same time, we also recognize the need to keep tuition low. We feel this recommendation acknowledges all pertinent factors – especially our students and their needs for affordable tuition and excellent academic programming. Students need and deserve a quality education and addressing faculty and staff salaries will help us ensure that quality.”
The increased funding will help the university invest in a 2-percent compensation pool for eligible faculty and staff. Employees have not received an annual salary increase since July 1, 2008, and salary remains an extremely high priority for the university. Investments also will be made in new faculty and staff positions, of which 110 were eliminated on the Las Cruces campus during the strategic budget exercise implemented in fiscal year 2011.
The university also plans to invest in its enrollment management division, including scholarships for students, part-time instruction, student support services and recruiting. An investment in graduate assistantships will be made as well.
Finally, the president will set up a President’s Performance Fund to be administered through the University Budget Committee for departments to submit proposals for new initiatives that directly support the university’s strategic plan, Building the Vision.
The 3.7-percent increase for full-time, resident undergraduate students means an additional $106.80 per semester. For full-time, non-resident undergraduate students the increase will be 4.4 percent or $399.60 per semester. Full-time, resident graduate students also will see a 3.7-percent increase or $117.60 per semester. Full-time, non-resident graduate student tuition will increase 4.4 percent or $410.40 per semester.
NMSU community colleges will see some increases as well. For resident in-district students, NMSU Alamogordo tuition and fees will increase 3.9 percent, Doña Ana Community College, 3.2 percent, and NMSU Grants, 4.6 percent. Due to increased revenues projected from an established 3 mil levy, NMSU Carlsbad will not have a tuition and fee increase for resident in-district students.
The board also approved a 3-percent increase in housing rates, except for student family housing rates, which remain unchanged. Funds generated by the increase will be used for program and service enhancements focused on academic success of residents.
The university’s meal plans, in coordination with new food service provider, Sodexo, are being restructured to support student needs and better align with participant usage patterns. Increased funding will be used for broad program enhancements and to offset inflationary increases.
Parking fees for the 2012-2013 academic year were increased at different levels depending on permit type. Most faculty and staff will see an increase of 42 cents per month and commuter students, campus residents and outer lot employees will see an increase of 17 cents per month. The funds will be used to support operating costs.