ENMU regents approve tuition hike

Argen Duncan

Eastern New Mexico University Regents approved tuition increases Tuesday for next school year at all three university campuses.

At the meeting in the Portales campus Administration Building, Student Regent Santana Chavez voted against all increases in tuition, room and board, and fees while Regents Randy Harris, Chad Lydick, Brett Leach and Marshall Stinnett voted for the measures.

Presidents of all three campuses cited the Legislature-imposed tuition credit, which requires universities and community colleges to raise tuition in order to balance their budgets, as the reason for the increases.

ENMU President Steven Gamble said the schools had just learned of budget cuts the state imposed after the legislative session as well.

In addition to cuts during the session, the Portales campus lost $380,000, and the Roswell campus was cut about half that, he said. ENMU-Ruidoso President Clayton Alred said his campus lost $31,000.

For the Portales campus, Regents passed tuition and fee increases of:

• 6.33 percent, or $123.50 per credit hour, for in-state undergraduates

• 2.4 percent, or $113 per credit hour, for out-of-state undergraduates

• 5.41 percent, or $117.20 per credit hour, for in-state graduate students

• 2.54 percent, or $125.20, for out-of-state graduate students.

Of the increases, 3.2 percent stays on campus and the rest goes to the state, Gamble said.

Even with the increases, Gamble said, ENMU still has the third-lowest tuition of the 79 institutions in the College Board’s Southwest region. Enrollment growth kept the Portales campus from having to increase tuition further, he said.

For ENMU-Ruidoso, Regents approved tuition increases of:

• $2 per credit hour, or 6.5 percent, for in-district students

• $5, or 12.5 percent, for out-of-district students

• $15, or 13.6 percent, for out-of-state students.

Alred said the increases would generate almost $67,000 of extra income, most of which would go to the state, according to school information.

Alred said the increase was less for in-district students because he believed those who pay the mil levy for the school deserved a break and it might be an incentive for more people to vote to become part of ENMU-Ruidoso’s district.

For ENMU-Roswell, Regents voted for tuition increases of:

• $6 per credit hour, or 11.9 percent, for in-district students.

• $6.26, or 11.9 percent, for out-of-district students.

• $27.84, or 15 percent, for out-of-state students.

ENMU-Roswell Vice President for Business Affairs Eric Johnston-Ortiz said $1 per credit hour of the increases would go to the campus, while the rest went to the state.

“To be honest, it’s a nominal-at-best source of revenue,” he said of the $1increase coming to the school.

However, Johnston-Ortiz said, administrators didn’t feel it was in the best interest of the campus or students to increase tuition any more.

Also, Regents approved a $1-per-credit-hour increase in fees to maintain the pay of the student health nurse at its current level, since half the funding for the position had been cut by the state.

In other business, Regents:

• heard Portales campus Vice President of Business Affairs Scott Smart say the Technology Building is scheduled to be finished in early September, and he expects to move academic operations in over winter break. As for other construction, he said work on a hot water loop would begin after graduation, and the new dormitory would be built from September 2011 to August 2012.

• approved a $10-per-credit-hour student fee for online courses at the Ruidoso campus. Vice President of Student Learning Chad Smith said with budget cuts, the student fee was the only way administrators could find to finance the online class system. He said they are looking for a way to bring the cost down, and if they succeed, the fee money will go toward developing online coursework.

• approved increases in Roswell meal plans ranging from 3.45 percent to 4.02 percent.

• approved changing the Roswell housing rates to offer lower prices per bed for higher occupancy in four-bedroom apartments. Other campus housing costs remained the same.

• approved room and board rates for the Portales campus.

Prices for traditional dorms went up 4 percent, or $54 per semester for double occupancy. Vice President of Student Affairs Judith Haislett said with about 1,100 beds taken, the increase would cover the rise in utility costs.

West Campus housing rates remained the same, and prices for San Juan Village are to increase by $25 per year and move from 12-month leases to 10-month leases over the next three years, Haislett said.

Meal plans went up 4 percent for the Commuter Plan and 3.7 percent for the larger plan.

• approved operating budgets for all three campuses.

• gave final approval to replace the evaporative cooling system in Greyhound Arena with $1 million in severance tax bond money. With the Regents’ approval, the project can go to the state Higher Education Department and Board of Finance.