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Tuition Hike OK'd at CNM

By James Monteleone
Journal Staff Writer
          The Central New Mexico Community College governing board on Tuesday approved a 9.5 percent tuition increase.
        The hike means a full-time CNM student will pay $100 more for classes next year, for a total of $1,199 in yearly tuition and fees.
        For part-time students, each credit hour will increase to $48.25 from $44. Noncredit Career Technical Education courses will double in price to $10 per credit.
        "That's very difficult for us knowing our students are struggling financially," CNM budget Vice President Kathy Ulibarri said of the new costs.
        None of that tuition increase will go to the college, CNM President Katharine Winograd said. The extra money is being charged only to balance the state's tuition credit, where lawmakers effectively take "credit" for increased tuition to offset state budget cuts.
        CNM was able to limit next year's increases to only the tuition credit thanks to the retirement buyout of 105 current employees, Winograd said. By cutting those positions or rehiring new workers at lower pay, CNM expects to save at least $3.9 million each year.
        "We truly believed we would have to raise tuition above the tuition credit in order to actually offset the magnitude of the cut," Winograd said. "But because the voluntary retirement program ended up being a lot more successful than we anticipated, it allowed us to back off on that."
        CNM also passed a new $10 fee for students enrolled in GED test preparation courses.
        While costs at CNM are going up, the 2012 budget creates a new $750,000 fund to provide financial aid for needy students who do not qualify for other educational aid.
        CNM is facing a 7.5 percent cut in state funding this year, the second-highest among colleges. The state cut represents about $3.7 million in lost funding in addition to the tuition credit.
        Although the state had imposed a similar tuition credit on CNM for this academic year, the college made extra cuts to avoid charging students more in tuition. To do that a second year would require cuts that would affect the classroom, Winograd has said.
        CNM's governing board unanimously approved the tuition increases, the retirement buyout program and a total 2012 budget of $260 million for the college.
       



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