Española – The Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents approved an 8.9 percent increase to tuition and general fees and introduced a tuition lock program for the 2015-16 academic year during its April 10 meeting.
The measure came as part of the Board’s efforts to address a $900,000 reduction in expenditures from the current fiscal year. Course and program specific fees were not impacted. Regents had not increased tuition since 2012.
The new tuition rate will increase the cost of attendance by about $10 per credit hour for in-state students. Despite the increase, it is anticipated that Northern will remain the most affordable four-year institution in the state.
Regents also approved a tuition lock program aimed at encouraging students to take more courses and graduate in a shorter period of time. Beginning in the Fall 2015 semester, all students who maintain 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester will not be subject to future tuition increases for up to 120 credit hours.
“Currently the average student at Northern is enrolled in nine credit hours,” Northern President Dr. Nancy Barceló said. “Our hope is that the tuition lock program will slowly increase the average to twelve.”
The state’s funding formula for higher education rewards annual increases in student completion and retention rates. The New Mexico Lottery and some forms of Federal aid also require students to maintain a full-time course load to remain eligible. The Board stated that the tuition lock program was aimed at addressing both considerations.
The $30 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year also includes a minimal reduction in full-time positions and phasing out certificate offerings in programs with low enrollment including Massage Therapy, Welding and Drafting. These programs will remain available under the College’s Continuing Education division.
Additional cost saving measures in the upcoming fiscal year include an assessment and possible increase to the number of students enrolled in a course, and the relocation of programs from El Rito to Northern’s main campus. The El Rito campus will remain open to conferences, academic retreats, public gatherings and as a host site for research expeditions.