After incentivizing New Mexico public colleges to raise tuition rates by subsidizing taxpayer-funded “free” college to the tune of $146 million this year, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration is now complaining about tuition hikes.
Last year, New Mexico State University announced an annual four percent increase in tuition, while the University of New Mexico hiked tuition rates by three percentage points. Western New Mexico University increased its tuition and fees by eight percent, while Eastern New Mexico University’s tuition remains flat.
Lujan Grisham’s Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez urged college regents and trustees “to keep tuition flat this year in the best interest of students and taxpayers. We are witnessing enrollment increases for the first time in over a decade and substantial investments in higher education compared to the rest of the country.”
“These historic investments are meant to directly benefit students by funding their education and reducing the portion of operational costs passed along to students, not an opportunity to exploit state funding to increase college and university revenues through more tuition and fees.”
This year’s budget passed during the 2023 Legislative Session was a 94.7 percent increase from last year’s $75 million, essentially no strings attached, spending on “free” college programs.
The increases in tuition costs by state universities can be directly correlated to the increase in state funds they are getting through the so-called Opportunity Scholarship. The colleges are very much “exploiting” state funding, as Rodriguez claimed, because there are no safeguards in the Democrat legislation that would cap funding or subsidize only certain fields of study needed in the job market.
Now, a New Mexico student could get their entire useless “gender studies” degree entirely paid for by the state’s taxpayers despite its ineffectuality.
If the state will pay for even more of the cost of tuition, then it is in the colleges’ best financial interest to raise rates since that would mean more money coming to the institutions on the backs of taxpayers.
As the state continues its costly multi-million-dollar experiment to fully subsidize state college costs for all residents (without any income caps or requirements, students are in the country legally), the price of a New Mexico degree will be even higher.
This comes as New Mexico graduates leave the state in droves, now along with their 100 percent taxpayer-funded degrees — another lost investment by the state’s taxpayers.
New Mexico’s K-12 educational programs remain the lowest in the nation.