NM secretary of higher education urges universities to not raise tuition

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As this school year comes to an end, universities across the state are already planning for the fall, and some schools are planning to make you pay you more. 

This week, New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education, Stephanie Rodriguez, sent out a statement to all universities saying the Legislature is giving them a record amount of funding, so they shouldn’t need to raise tuition. 

“We recently heard that two higher education institutions in New Mexico have increased tuition, and if two have already done it, and one made a decision not to, we knew we needed to issue a statement as soon as possible,” Secretary Rodriguez said. 

The universities that have already raised tuition for next year are Western New Mexico University, they are going up by 3%. And Highlands University, they are raising tuition by 1.75%. 

Eastern, Tech, UNM and NMSU have all said they will not raise tuition next year. But Northern New Mexico College hasn’t made a decision either way. 

Secretary Rodriguez says no colleges needed to raise tuition this year. 

“As you know $1.2 billion is going to our colleges and universities that’s 12% of the overall state budget, we also have the opportunity scholarship fully-funded at $146 million. If we keep increasing tuition, we are going to impact the sustainability of scholarship programs and college access for New Mexicans,” Rodriguez said. 

A spokesperson from Highlands University said on the phone Wednesday, their reason for their tuition increase is because the state also passed a mandate to give all university staff a 6% raise. But, that raise was only 80% funded by the state. 

“There are other revenue sources that come into our higher education institutions, such as private funds from their foundations, federal funds. Some employees are federally funded, not state funded, so there is a way, and a mechanism that we really want to challenge our board of regents, our presidents, our chancellors to fully think about when it comes to increasing them,” Rodriguez said. 

But it’s not just tuition raises Secretary Rodriguez is concerned about, she also pointed out while UNM didn’t raise their tuition they did increase their student support fees by 3%.