John Bonner isn’t too bothered by the tuition increases at Eastern New Mexico University over the four years he’s been there.
“To go to school here will cost half of what it would if I were in Texas,” Bonner said. “I’m saving about 50 percent. With it being a small school, there are also so many scholarship opportunities available to further offset tuition costs.”
From 1990 to 2011, tuition and fees have increased by 237 percent for resident students and 127 percent for non-resident students.
Scott Smart of ENMU’s Business Affairs department explains why tuition has increased, and that ENMU is no exception to the effects of inflation:
“There have been several significant reasons why tuition rises each year, first among them would be that the percentage of our money coming from the state appropriation has declined,” Smart said. “We know that had to happen but it still gives us less money to operate with.”
Smart added that with inflation, education costs are a staple, similar to the costs of gas and milk.
“The cost of everything we need to buy seems to rise,” Smart said. “We need to get money to cover the dollars we lose to inflation. At Eastern, we use tuition and fees to meet the gap between the state appropriation and what it costs to run the university.”
But even with the tuition increases over the years, ENMU President Steven Gamble said ENMU has the fifth lowest tuition and fees rate in the southwest, according to statistics provided by the College Board.
“We do it by good management of our budget,” Gamble said. “We don’t have a lot of high-paid personnel at the institution and we are very frugal in our spending habits.”
Smart attributes enrollment growth as another way ENMU can keep cost increases low.
“Enrollment growth generates more revenues, and with that growth, there’s less pressure to increase tuition rates,” Smart said. “We’re only raising (tuition) three percent after we’ve seen a $6 million reduction of state funding and we’re doing that because of enrollment growth.”