TOME — For the fourth year in a row, the local higher education governing body has voted to keep student tuition costs flat.
At a special meeting last month, The University of New Mexico-Valencia campus Advisory Board voted 3-0 to not increase student tuition in the 2021 school year.
Resident tuition for the 2021-22 school year will remain at $78.25 per credit hour, including fees, and non-resident tuition will remain at $213.75 per credit hour, including fees.
The three board members who participated in the meeting — Chairman Paul Luna, Secretary Belinda Martinez and board member Russell Griego — agreed this wasn’t the time for a tuition increase, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is not the time to burden students,” Luna said.
Rick Goshorn, director of business operations, said the 2021-22 school year budget would be about $5.7 million for the campus. The budget doesn’t include dual enrollment funding, a $106,000 reduction from last fiscal year, and state nursing expansion funding was reduced to $146,500, a loss of $93,000.
Goshorn said the budget for the upcoming fiscal year assumes a three percent increase in local mill levy revenue, but if last year is any indication, it could be more.
“The actuals were significantly higher,” Goshorn said.
The budget for the current fiscal year anticipated mill levy revenues at $2,989,810, but actual collections were $3,132,764. A 3 percent increase for 2022 based on the current budget would result in $3,079,504, less than the actual amount collected.
Tuition revenues for the 2022 fiscal year are budgeted at $1,474,260, in an anticipation of a “return to normalcy,” he said.
The campus budget also includes a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase of which 60 percent will be funded by the state.
With minimum wage increasing from $10.50 to $11.50 on Jan. 1, 2022, in the middle of the campus’s fiscal year, Goshorn said there will be an increase in expenses of about $31,015.
In the new fiscal year, the campus will be “institutionalizing” several salaries that were paid by grants that are ending.
“We typically don’t pick up everything but we have to keep these programs running,” Goshorn said. The salaries, including benefits, as well as some software licensing costs, will total $111,425.
The Workforce Training Center is anticipated to come online in January 2022, he said, and $153,600 for a half year of operating costs are included in the budget.
In total, the campus budget was reduced $664,524 for the coming year, he said.
“We can reduce it by that much without impacting our ability to serve students and community, and without any real reduction in the way we operate,” Goshorn said.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.