Faced with economic reality, New Mexico State University is making a smart move – away from seeking more public dollars and toward working with the private sector.
Amid a financial crunch created in part by falling enrollment and declining tax and royalty revenues to state coffers from oil and gas, NMSU president Garrey Carruthers announced last week that he wants to tap private revenue streams so the university “won’t have to worry about legislators or tuition.”
Money will be tight when state lawmakers convene in January for the short budget session. And many hands will be out competing for funding for worthy programs.
Meanwhile, fall enrollment at the main campus in Las Cruces was down 14 percent, a function in part of a better economy where more people are opting for work over school. Earlier this year a $9.1 million shortfall caused the university to do some housecleaning and reorganizing. Staffing levels were trimmed, a soft hiring freeze was imposed and changes were made in purchasing. NMSU may also consider outsourcing information technology services. And tuition was raised by 2.4 percent.
Carruthers and his administration also are exploring development of land near the school’s golf course to attract private projects. For example, there is interest in a continuum-care living facility for retirees.