ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico regents are considering a proposal that would raise tuition for some students by double digits.
Undergraduate students who are taking 12 credit hours or less would see a 14 percent increase next year if regents approve a new way of charging students, the Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/12qIvfQ).
Several regents already have criticized the proposal, which was unveiled Friday.
It calls for charging students for each credit hour they take instead of a block of credit hours. Now, all full-time students who take 12 or more credits pay the same tuition.
Under the plan, students who take 12 hours would see their tuition and fees rise from the current $6,050 to $6,918 annually. Those who take 15 hours would see an increase to $6,657.
Revenue from the tuition increase would be used to pay for a proposed 3 percent pay raise for faculty and a 1 percent raise for staff. One-fifth of the revenue would go toward financial aid.
The proposal did not have enough votes during Friday’s budget summit to go to the Board of Regents with a recommendation. Still, the board plans to review it during a meeting Tuesday.
Regent Gene Gallegos said the proposal would create a hardship for students.
However, administrators said it would benefit the university in the long term. They argue that charging less per credit hour to those students who take heavier loads provides incentive to stay on track and finish their studies faster.
“If we’re going to change the culture of students that come to this university, we’re going to have to demand more of our students,” UNM President Bob Frank said.
The university has been trying to increase its six-year graduation rate, which currently stands at a little more than 45 percent. That’s about 10 percentage points below the national average. The four-year graduation rate is 15 percent, and UNM would like to raise that to 40 percent.
Provost Chaouki Abdallah said the increase wouldn’t have that large an effect on students because the university plans to increase the financial aid it hands out to students in need. Most UNM students pay a small portion of tuition — on average about $1,500 a year — thanks to the lottery scholarship and institutional aid, he said.
Whether regents revamp the tuition block model, a tuition increase is still likely since several regents support increasing employee compensation. It’s been four years since employees received a raise.