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UNM regent committees OK initial budgets for 2022 fiscal year

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

University of New Mexico regent committees gave preliminary approval Tuesday to proposed budgets for the 2022 fiscal year, which total more than $3.4 billion when accounting for the university’s health system as well as main and branch campuses.

While the entire proposed budget is a 3% increase from the current fiscal year, the university’s main campus budget is expected to decrease by nearly 5%.

Last year, regents approved a main campus budget with $905 million in expenses and revenues. There were $861 million in expected expenses and revenues in the budget documents approved by the regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee on Tuesday.

The full board is expected to vote on the budgets next week.

Teresa Costantinidis, UNM’s senior vice president for Finance and Administration, said one reason for the decline in the main campus budget is that the university is being more cautious when estimating how much money it will make on housing, athletics and other revenue sources.

In the past, the athletic department, in particular, ran up a multi-million deficit over the course of years by overestimating its revenue and then overspending.

“We have much more conservative projections of revenues related to housing and dining and parking, and other activities, the book store, athletics, etc.,” Costantinidis said.

Regents on the committee voted 2-1 to approve the proposed budget. Regent Rob Schwartz voted against the proposal because, he said, it includes a head count fee that all students will pay to the athletic department. Schwartz pointed out that several student body leaders spoke out against the fee during prior meetings.

“I certainly support almost all of this budget,” he said. “I’m concerned about moving ahead to approve a student fee that was opposed by the president of the student body, and graduate students and by large numbers of other students.”

Also on Tuesday, regents on the Health Sciences Center Committee approved a budget for the HSC that contains $2.56 billion in expected revenue and $2.5 billion in projected expenses.

Much of that money is related to patient care and the cost of operating hospitals.

About 42% of that revenue comes from Medicaid and Medicare and 16% comes from commercial insurance, according to documents presented during the committee meeting.

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