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UNM tuition to increase 13.2 percent for some students

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new tuition model at the University of New Mexico that increases the cost for some students by 13.2 percent will make way for the first salary increase for faculty and staff in four years.
UNM regents on Tuesday approved a new model, a tuition hike, an increase in student fees for athletics and a 3 percent raise for faculty. Also included in the budget was a 1 percent raise for staff and a one-time, $1,000 supplemental pay, along with permanent funding for the struggling libraries to the tune of $466,000.
The vote, 5-2 with regents Conrad James and Heidi Overton dissenting, came after numerous hours of presentations and discussion.
In essence, UNM is changing the way it charges tuition by unblocking it, meaning students pay per credit hour as opposed to for 12 credit hours total, which has been the case. Tuition will cost less for students who take 15 hours or more, while students who take less than 15 credit hours will pay a higher rate. The goal is to get students to graduate faster and accrue less student debt. In turn, that would increase the university’s dismal four-year, 15 percent graduation rate, and its 45.8 percent six-year rate.
All UNM full-time students, or those who take 12 credit hours or more, currently pay $6,050 in tuition and fees.
The new structure means two different increases: 13.2 percent for students who stick to less than 15 hours, and about 6.6 percent for those who already take at least 15 hours, but until now have been doing so at no extra cost. Twenty percent of the revenue generated by the tuition increase will be used for financial aid.
Regents president Jack Fortner said it was important to both increase faculty salaries and encourage students to take a heavier course load.
“The greatest asset we have is our experience, our people,” Fortner said. “So we had to do something and that something was a 6.6 percent increase.”
Regents also approved increasing the amount in student fees for athletics, which students strongly opposed.
Student fees for athletics in the past two years have doubled, and students argued that while they supported the department, they felt it was inappropriate to fund more of its budget through students instead of other sources.
In the end, a recommendation from the Student Fee Review Board to keep fees for athletics as is was overrulled. Students next year will pay $165.20 each for athletics, which is more than $33 more than they paid this year. Atheltics will now get $4 million via fees. Last year it got a little over $3 million.

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