Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tech Tuition Likely To Increase 8-9 Percent

Mountain Mail Reports

SOCORRO – New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez expects to see slightly higher enrollments at the university in the next two to three years. This, in light of a probable tuition increase of 8 to 9 percent, which translates to $207 per semester for in-state undergraduates, and $610 for non-residents.
According to Lopez’ report last week to the Board of Regents, Tech has already received 247 paid applications for the fall semester, compared with 161 paid applicants at the same time in 2009.
“We have incredible growth and the pattern continues,” Lopez said at the Mar. 30 meeting.
“Normally, that’s great, but we have 11 frozen [faculty] positions and three more who are retiring. It’s beginning to put a strain on faculty to offer the classes to accommodate the students.”
Because of state funding cuts, incoming students – and continuing students – will be spending more for tuition beginning next fall. Lopez said the state’s funding formula assumes that each university will increase tuition by at least 5 percent.
“The only way we can make it up is to go to the students ask them to make up the five percent,” Lopez said. “But because of the other cuts, including those to special projects, we will have to raise it another three to four percent.”
Lopez said the university will still have the lowest tuition of all research institutions in New Mexico, “and are among the best tuition rates in the Rocky Mountain west,” and substantially lower in the entire west.
“For example, in November University of California Board of Regents raised tuition rates by 32 percent,” he said.
He said the tuition rate increases will not affect students on lottery scholarships.
Regent Richard Carpenter said that the university can expect to see increased enrollment for the next couple years, particularly if the national economy stays in the doldrums.
Carpenter pointed out that UNM is considering tightening admission standards and asked if New Mexico Tech should consider changing its admission standards. Carpenter also said Tech could improve its retention rates by examining admissions.
Lopez said he is willing to launch an effort to study Tech’s admission standards; he said, however, that incoming Tech students already have a relatively high average GPA, which is the best indicator of persistence. He also said that retention issues are typically related to individual behavior – like going to class and completing assignments.

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