Board to raise tuition rates at UNM-LA

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By Jennifer Garcia

The price of gas is on the rise, grocery prices are also going up and soon, the price of tuition at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos also will be increased, thanks to House Bill 2, currently making its way through the Senate.

During Monday night’s UNM-LA Advisory Board meeting, members passed a motion that would increase tuition, not to exceed 12.1 percent. The motion passed 3-1, with Stephen Boerigter voting against it.
UNM-LA Executive Director Cedric Page said he’s not sure exactly how much the increase will amount to because HB 2, which mandates the increase, still is working its way through the Senate. It passed in the House by a 35-34 vote last week.

“The Board approved a motion to increase the tuition for next year, not to exceed 12.1 percent in response to the tuition credit that currently exists in House Bill 2, that would require two year schools to increase tuition by nine percent,” Page said.

He also said the revenue from the tuition increase would go back to the state and the schools would not benefit from those dollars.

“It’s being discussed in the Senate as we speak,” he said. “They might change it, they may leave it alone. It may go forward to the governor …”

Page said three different scenarios were given to the Board, outlining the amounts by which tuition could be increased. The first scenario outlined an increase from the current rate of $53.50 per credit hour, to $59 per credit hour, while the second option showed an increase to $59.50 per credit hour, and the third option would increase tuition to $60 per credit hour.

Of the four UNM branches, which are made up of Los Alamos, Taos, Valencia and Gallup, UNM-LA has the lowest tuition at $53.50 per credit hour. Taos charges $62; Valencia charges $59.75 and Gallup charges $60.90. Northern New Mexico College in Española charges $44.01 per credit hour, but after fees are calculated, the amount is more like $59 per credit hour. Meanwhile, Santa Fe Community College charges $36 per credit hour, “but they have a larger mil levy, which comes from their property tax base in Santa Fe County to draw upon, so they can have a lower tuition,” Page said.

“They didn’t lock in a rate of increase,” he said, explaining that if the increase reached the 12.1 percent level, tuition would be at the $60 per credit hour.

Boerigter voted against the motion because he was in favor of increasing tuition by 12 percent immediately, rather than waiting to see what changes, if any, would be made to the bill before it got to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk.

Page said he doesn’t believe that a tuition increase will affect enrollment at UNM-LA.

“I’m meeting with the student government representatives tonight to discuss this and get a sense from them,” he said. “I think we’re still going to experience an increase in enrollment.”

He said in the overall scheme of things, they’re trying to keep pace with the hiring of faculty and are trying to maintain the quality by being able to recruit faculty that make a difference to the students.

“I think the students will see the value of this increase going directly to support our efforts to maintain and recruit faculty for various efforts,” Page said.

However, Ron Dolin was in favor of waiting to see just how much of an increase would be mandated, rather than pass a motion for an increase that may or may not be accurate.

Page said the Board had to take action because tuition changes have to be presented to the Board of Regents by March 28.

“Given that they’re (the Board) not meeting again until the fourth of April, an action was needed to bring to the regents,” Page said.