By Sarah Meyer: Freedom New Mexico
The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents voted Thursday to increase tuition, fees, and room and board by about 6 percent for the 2008-2009 academic year.
Tuition rates will go up from $1,116 to $1,182 per semester for a full-time student. Student fees will go up from $462 to $489 per semester.
Housing costs and meal plans also are slated to go up 6 percent.
Judith Haislett, vice president for student affairs, said the increase for housing and meals is needed to cover increased energy costs and to improve safety. Safety improvements include maintenance and improved locks on the exterior doors of dorms.
The cost of room and board remains competitive with other area universities, according to documents provided by the university.
Regents president Alva Carter said the increases were reasonable, especially in comparison to area universities.
“With everything going up, won’t we be kind of a bright star?” he said. “More people might be wanting to come here because it’s all coming out of Daddy’s pocket.”
ENMU president Steven Gamble agreed.
“One reason they come here is affordability,” he said.
Charles Britton, secretary/treasurer and student representative on the board, voted against the increase.
“I’m objecting that the increase had to come at students’ expense,” he said later. “It’s hard for us to take on extra expenses.”
Regarding tuition increases, Scott Smart, vice president for business affairs, pointed out that the state mandated a 2 percent tuition increase, so the university will net only a 4 percent increase.
Britton also voted against this increase.
Student body president Mario Cabrera said the Student Senate objects to the state-imposed portion of the increase.
“We understand that tuition and fees have to go up at some point,” he said. “Why should students be punished because the state has to balance its budget? I don’t believe the state should tax students for learning.”
In addition to general student fee increases, fees will be added to several animal science courses to help cover the cost of laboratory materials.
Regents also voted to increase employee compensation by 3 percent. Two percent of that will be state funded; the other 1 percent will come from university funds.
Double occupancy room comparison
• ENMU, $1,165 (next year)
• University of New Mexico, $2,050
• New Mexico State University, $1,849
• Texas Tech, $1,532
• West Texas A&M, $1,330