ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tuition goes up just about every year at the University of New Mexico. Now, students are being hit with another fee, and it depends on how they choose to pay.

New this semester, students who choose to pay their bill with a credit or debit card will have to pay a fee.

Just a few weeks ago, Giovanna Snow embarked on her college career at UNM planning to hit the ground running studying mechanical engineering.

“I really love math. It’s a really great field. They offer really great math courses here,” said Snow, a UNM student.

But her plans quickly changed — taken aback by unexpected fees.

“I made the advisor appointment as soon as I could and I was like, I am just going to declare undecided because you are charging me $365 extra right away, and I’m not even taking classes in the department yet,” said Snow.

There’s another smaller fee students like Giovanna have to worry about starting this year if they want to pay their tuition bill with a credit or debit card; they will now be charged a nearly three percent service fee.

“Previously, the university internally paid the service fees associated with credit cards, now that fee has been outsourced to a third party,” said Student Regent Ryan Berryman.

This new service fee can be avoided by paying with cash or check. However, students said for many, paying by card is their only option.

“Some people don’t have that cash on hand and paying with a credit card is all they have,” said Snow.

For a full-time student at UNM, taking 15 credits, it costs $2,648 per semester. Pay that amount with a credit card — the charge is nearly $80. Berryman said the university is in a tough financial state where they are forced to make these difficult decisions.

“If you can save money somewhere else, then you don’t have to charge students in another place,” said Berryman.

As a student leader, Berryman said he sees this as an opportunity for a larger discussion.

“Our obligation is to educate students on why it’s almost better to pay tuition with things outside of credit cards. Credit cards have high interest rates,” Berryman said.

As for Giovanna, she hopes the cost of attending college won’t ground her dreams.

“Working on the airplanes as a mechanical engineer and just really get to explore the world,” Snow said.

According to the UNM, 90 percent of public colleges charge students a processing fee for payments made by card. UNM said the university does not get any money from the processing charge.