Too many scholarships lands NMSU a $3.3 million budget deficit

New Mexico

New Mexico State University has apparently been giving out too many scholarships.

Regents say they were blindsided Wednesday when they were told they were in a more than $3 million budget hole. 

NMSU regents say they will make things right for current students, but there will likely be a big change in the money they give away in the future.

It’s money many students at New Mexico State University depend on.

“If it weren’t for scholarships I’d have to take out loans. I have a huge family of 12 and there’s no way my parents or my family could afford it without scholarship,” student Christian Miler said.

The university’s administration says it awarded more scholarships than they were actually prepared for.

Back in 2016, the administration created a scholarship program to entice incoming freshman to boost numbers. However, they got more students than expected and ended up $3.3 million in the hole. 

“We had recruiters working on one side and finance work on this side, and neither of them were talking to know what the financial impact is,” said Regents President Debra Hicks.

The regents were given the bad news Wednesday. Now they’re working to figure out how to make good on their promises.

They say that last year, 17 percent of their students received some sort of scholarship.

Officials say current students shouldn’t worry.

“The students that were committed to having those scholarships that will happen,” Hicks said. 

The university says personnel changes and structural moves will hopefully help their situation. Going forward, they are looking to restructure the money they do give away.

The administration says while many students desperately need the help, they also found some students were being given more than they really needed.

“The program will continue for first-year freshman, but it’s not going to be an amount that’s going to be over their tuition,” Hicks said. 

Regents are questioning why it took so long for someone to bring the deficit to their attention and whether there are other financial issues the don’t know about.

Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, who is on his way out, did not comment.

Colleges and universities did take a hit in state funding last year because of a budget deficit. With increased oil and gas revenue  this year, they’re expecting some help from the state.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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