As New Mexico’s population of high school students declines, the University of New Mexico is looking at new and innovative ways to maintain a robust enrollment. One idea UNM is looking at to enhance enrollment in diverse geographic area is to provide more scholarship opportunities in an effort to recruit students from other states as well as an international emphasis targeting several locations around the world.
UNM plans to expand its recruitment focus to other states where substantial growth in high school graduates has been noted. The proposal would allow UNM to charge tuition and fee rates that are less than the nearly $21,000 a year published rate. The tuition and fee rates actually charged will vary, but will generally be substantially more than the $6,450 annual rates paid by residents.
This strategic pricing is not only a response to demographics that indicate limited prospective student populations in New Mexico, but also to diversify the student body, and in turn, improving the educational experience for all students. Currently, UNM’s non-resident population is approximately 15 percent compared to the regional peer average of 24 percent.
“We have a lot of room to grow in geographic diversity and enrich the educational environment for our New Mexico students,” said Terry Babbitt, associate vice president of Enrollment Management. “It isn’t just about enrollment growth. It is equally important to expose our students to diverse cultures from within and outside of the United States.”
UNM is managing a budget shortfall due in part to recent spring enrollment declines. The full-time equivalent enrollment, which considers not only headcount but credit hour loads, has increased slightly over the last five years for the fall semesters, but is down about two percent during the same time for spring semesters.
“Tuition revenue is crucial to UNM and all universities,” Babbitt said. “Slight decreases can have big financial implications. We have some demographic challenges and have made changes to improve the success of our students, which is the number one priority for us. The primary component of our enrollment strategy is to return and graduate our students.”
Utilizing incentives to attract good, new students is also an important initiative according to Babbitt. “We have capacity and recruiting highly-qualified students from different locations benefits everyone. UNM is a great fit for these students and their presence does not deny opportunities or resources for resident students in any way, in fact it is the opposite.”