UNM Provost: Enrollment drops, cuts imminent

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It’s been a rough year for the University of New Mexico. The athletic department facing a budget shortfall, cut four teams. Now, UNM is facing more money problems after enrollment this fall drastically dropped. 

“We’ve got a bump in the road,” said Richard Wood, the Interim Provost at UNM.

He said the university was only expecting enrollment on main campus to drop 2.5 percent.

“We took about a 7 percent, better than 7 percent fall in students on campus,” said Wood. “A little more than 7 and a half percent of student credit hours.”

They now have around 25,000 students, and the loss is about $10 million in tuition and student fees.  It’s not something students expected either. 

“I’m more surprised because UNM has just been improving the school, so I think more people should be looking at UNM,” said business student Ty Longmire-Monford.

Students have their own theories on what’s causing the numbers to drop.

“I see it as UNM doesn’t give a lot of advertising for what we have here,” said student SIerra Corvin. 

Students also think it has a lot to do with scholarships. 

“Because it’s dropped, the lottery scholarship I think less students are attracted to coming in-state to UNM,” said Longmire-Monford. 

Provost Wood said the “higher-than-expected decrease” is due to the state’s improved economy, increased competition, and even the lottery scholarship not covering as much tuition as it once did.

“It’s not one thing, it’s a lot of stuff,” he said.  

He also said the younger population isn’t growing, and more men are choosing to go into the work force. He says they will now have to make significant cuts.

“I wanna be really clear, the cuts are gonna do damage. It’s a hard time,” said Wood.  

That’s something students aren’t happy about. 

“I look at my degree specifically and I’m like, what are they gonna cut from music?” said Corvin. 

Wood says they are immediately considering a hiring freeze, but they haven’t looked into cutting any positions. 

They’re in the early stages of evaluating how to fix the problem, said Woods, and they’ve created a whole team designated to enrollment. 

They’ll focus on keeping students that came this fall, and recruiting students.

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