ENMU regents OK tuition hike

By Karl Terry: Freedom Newspapers

Higher education costs are going up across the state and nation, and Eastern New Mexico University will be no different.
The ENMU Board of Regents took care of a lengthy agenda Friday, much of which involved discussion of tuition, fees and boarding increases at the university. The meeting also addressed budgets for 2007-2008 and annual budget adjustment requests for the current budget year.

Regents voted to raise tuition at the Portales and Roswell campuses. Ruidoso’s administration opted to forego hikes this year because of a brighter budget picture.

Resident undergraduate students at the Portales campus will see a 4.49 percent, or $48, increase in tuition while non-residents will see an increase of 1.09 percent, or $42. Graduate tuition rates increase 4.6 percent for residents and 1.27 percent for non-residents.
In addition to the tuition hikes, regents also approved raising fees 11.59 percent. Included in that increase was a new technology fee, assessed at a rate of $2 per credit hour with a cap of $24.

ENMU President Steven Gamble explained that the new technology fee would go toward keeping technology up-to-date at the university. In particular, it would assure that the university can keep up with bandwidth demand as online technologies continue to increase and software updated. Gamble said much of that cost had previously been addressed through federal technology funding, but that source would not be there this year.

“We’re left hanging without money coming in from the feds,” Gamble said. “I’m in agreement with this plan as presented. We need to stay updated.”

Gamble said adding that fee would generate $165,000 in the budget.

The ENMU Student Body has reviewed the fees and tuition requests being made and concurred they were reasonable, according to ENMU Student Body President Steven Frost

“No student wants to pay more fees,” Frost said. “But when you start looking at $2 per credit hour, it’s a great value.”

Housing and meal charges will also rise following Friday’s board action. Student Affairs Vice President Gary Musgrave presented the board with a recommendation for a 2.8-percent increase in room rates, 7 percent on traditional residence halls and 5 percent on apartment rates at the Portales campus. He also requested the meal plan be raised 2.8 percent.

It is expected that the new San Juan Village housing area will be ready for use in the fall.

“It’s our commitment to keeping us (ENMU) as competitive as possible,” Gamble said. “Partly that’s through housing and meals.”
Musgrave handed out a comparison with other area universities that showed ENMU the least expensive for meals and housing currently.
In Roswell the tuition hikes OK’d average 4.5 percent with no fee increases requested. In-district resident tuition goes up 4.04 percent, out-of-district resident 4.07 percent and non-resident 4.39 percent.

Regents also approved raises for employees of 5 percent along with a one-time performance bonus of 1.5 percent. That increase was the amount authorized by the 2007 Legislature. Gamble said this is the first year in recent years the university has not added extra money.

Eastern New Mexico University Regents on Friday took the following actions:
• Approved a resolution addressing air quality concerns affecting the campus. At the center of the concerns is a proposed sewer lagoon at a dairy just outside city limits to the south of the campus. The New Mexico Environment Department will hold a public hearing on the lagoon May 10. With the passage of the resolution, university officials are expected to raise quality of life concerns at that hearing.
• Approved 2007-2008 operating budgets and current-year budget adjustment requests for all three campuses.
• Approved new programs in Hospitality Services and Tourism for the Ruidoso campus.
• Approved new programs in Radiographic Technology and Dental Hygiene at the Roswell campus.
• Approved new programs in Forensic Science, Agriculture Education, Animal and Dairy Science, Environmental Science Composite, Agriculture and Advance Agriculture.
• Approved student fees allocation recommendation from the student committee totaling $1.53 million.