Tuition to remain the same at UNM-Valencia Campus

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For the third year in a row, the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus Advisory Board is recommending there be no increase to the branch campus's tuition.

That recommendation was part of the board's unanimous approval of the budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget will be sent to UNM's Board of Regents for final approval and then on to the state's higher education board.

Andrew Sanchez, associate director of business operations, said the campus has been using its cash balances, reallocating funds and everything else available to stave off tuition increases.

"I'm not sure if that will continue after next year," Sanchez said.

The campus's overall budget saw a small increase in revenues, $146,889, and a slight drop in expenditures, $179,736.

Tuition at UNM-VC for a state resident will be $65.05 per credit hour, or about $780 for a full-time student.

Sanchez pointed out that average tuition at UNM's main campus in Albuquerque is $285 a credit hour. And with the implementation of differential tuition last year, students at the main campus taking 12 credit hours or less pay more per hour than those taking 15 to 18 credit hours, he said.

Nonresidential tuition remains at $174.25 per credit hour, or about $4,083 for a year. Student recruiter Hank Vigil said there are about 30 to 50 students at UNM-VC who are not residents.

UNM-VC art professor Michael Chessiat said many out-of-state students come to the Valencia Campus because its out-of-state tuition is less expensive that main campus' at $862 per credit hour. Main campus did not increase its tuition this year either.

Sanchez said the only campus in the UNM system that requested an increase was UNM-Los Alamos, due to a lost mill levy election.

There is a predicted loss in tuition revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, Sanchez told advisory board members. He attributed that to the campus's decrease in enrollment.

"A lot of people are going back to work, the economy is picking up a bit," he said.

Vigil said the average age of students at the Valencia Campus was beginning to trend down, indicating fewer nontraditional students.

"I think if it's a choice of getting a job or going to school, it's a lot more popular to get a job," Vigil said.

Dr. Alice Letteney, UNM-VC's executive director, said because of a lack of a presence on the Valencia County's west side, "CNM is eating our lunch as far as Los Lunas."

Vigil agreed, saying the situation mitigated how far and how fast UNM-VC could expand.

"We are looking to get students in class and keep them in class," he said.

Letteney noted that the state's funding formula for higher education facilities does not pay by the number of students enrolled. Instead, it pays based on completion of 30 to 60 credit hours, and degrees and certificates earned by students.

"And it's very small even for course completion. DFA told us as of three weeks ago, it is the state's intention that we won't be paid a dime for course completion in the future," Letteney said. "The governor's people say certificate, degree or 30 or 60 hours, no longer course completion. The whole situation is changing and does effect the budget."

The UNM-VC budget also included a 3 percent raise for faculty, which was mandated as part of its state appropriation.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.