ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of New Mexico students could be paying more for their education. University officials said without the extra money, they could end up slashing plans for campus improvements and health initiatives.

UNM administration said it needs more money to increase safety, improve mental health services, and pay its employees more.

“If we did no tuition increase, what would that mean as far as those requests? The answer is we would cut them by 73%,” said a presenter at the Board of Regents Committee of the Whole meeting on March 31.

The administration said they need more than $20 million in new funding and the budget they are considering for the next school year would not be possible without increasing tuition. If the proposal passes, students will see higher fees and a 3% tuition increase.

For the nearly half of UNM students whose tuition and fees are fully covered by scholarships, the increase would not come out of their pockets. For those who do pay their own tuition, the increase could mean up to $500 more in 2024. The university would use some of that money to help fund a 6% salary increase for certain staff and faculty.

“We want to be able to provide good quality services for our students. We want to be able to provide competitive salaries for faculty,” said UNM regent, Jack Fortner.

With the tuition increase, they expect to make an additional $3 million to fund upcoming initiatives, which include cameras and other security upgrades to student housing. Also included is upgrading campus parking and adding more mental health initiatives.

The school saw a bump in new students last year as the state rolled out the opportunity scholarship, offering a full ride to in-state undergrads. Fortner mentioned he has not decided whether this proposal is the way to go, but he sees the benefits. “It will have a varying impact on students, but again raising tuition is never the optimum way to raise money, sometimes it’s the necessary evil,” added Fortner.

The university needs to get its budget to the state by May 11. Regents are set to consider it at an April 10 meeting. The school is also expecting funding from the state. Under this proposal, the tuition increases would not apply to branch campuses.