NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Higher Education Department is warning against tuition increases at public colleges and universities in the state.

Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez issued a statement Monday. It said more than $1.2 billion dollars was approved for higher education institutions this year, including $146 million for the Opportunity Scholarship.

She urged colleges and universities to keep tuition flat this year.

Rodriquez said as the state sees enrollment increases for the first time in more than a decade, the major funding approved this year is meant to reduce costs for students and is not an opportunity for schools to increase revenue through higher tuition costs.

See her full statement below.

This year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham approved over $1.2 billion for public colleges and universities across the state, 12 percent of the state’s overall budget and some of the most generous funding in state history. This includes over $782 million in operational funds going toward public colleges and universities, another $150 million for capital projects, and $146 million for New Mexico’s tuition-free college program – the Opportunity Scholarship. I urge all governing boards – regents and trustees – overseeing public higher education institutions 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.

Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez