Students will be paying the same next year to attend the University of New Mexico, with a few exceptions. The UNM Board of Regents voted not to increase tuition or fees for the FY15 budget and approved compensation increases of three percent for faculty and two percent for staff. However, the regents did agree to increase differential tuition fees for three specific programs and for the Los Alamos branch campus.
The vote, in a special meeting on Friday, comes after the four-hour budget summit held on Tuesday, in which regents heard comments from administration, faculty, staff and students. Based on recommendations from the Strategic Budget Leadership Team (SBLT) and the Student Fee Review Board (SFRB), President Robert G. Frank had proposed a 1.5 percent tuition increase to help pay for the compensation package.
“UNM’s human capital is our most valuable asset and our highest priority, and it must be preserved to retain our faculty and staff in a competitive global market,” Frank said during the summit.
Regents agreed that the compensation increase is needed, but did not want to raise tuition. Regent Suzanne Quillen said, “It is not sustainable or wise to continue to increase student tuition to solve our huge and important problems. It is our job to think outside the box and come up with other solutions.”
After voting for no tuition increase, Board President Jack Fortner posed the question of how to pay for the compensation package. “This is a $6 million dollar item and only $2.3 is being provided by the state,” Fortner said. “Where is the rest of the money going to come from?”
President Frank told the regents he would consult with various campus constituents and then present a plan to the Regents Fiscal and Finance subcommittee meeting on Friday, April 4. “You have given a clear directive, and we will take a few days to consider options, then come back to you with a thoughtful, well developed budget proposal.”
With the regent action, tuition and fees at UNM will remain about $3200 per semester for a full time undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours. The branch campus tuition will stay the same at Gallup, Taos and Valencia County, but tuition at Los Alamos will increase by 4.9 percent next semester.
The regents also approved differential tuition increases for three graduate programs and one undergraduate school. Anderson School of Management will have a new $10 per credit hour fee for undergraduate students as well as an additional $10 increase to the existing $174 differential tuition for graduate students The School of Architecture and Planning’s differential tuition will go up $25 per credit hour fee. Speech and Hearing Sciences will implement a new $150 per credit hour differential tuition for graduate courses. The reasons for the differential tuition include the higher cost of the programs, materials and faculty with clinical expertise.