A BRAC for NM higher education?

The latest figures from the Legislative Finance Committee include $232 million of “new” money for the Legislature to spend in 2016. I hope they don’t actually expect that money to be there, however. In fact, it would be great if we could see some actual belt-tightening in Santa Fe. There is plenty of waste and unnecessary spending throughout the budget.

One area that the RGF has covered in the past is higher education. According to our friends at the National Education Association, New Mexico spends 7th most among US states on higher education and 4th most among the states on capital spending in higher education (see charts H-7 and H-18 of the linked document).

In that vein, I ran across an article entitled “A BRAC for UNC” from the Carolina Journal. The idea being to apply the successful Base Realignment and Closure Commission which has been done successfully at the federal level, to the proliferating number of campuses and institutions in higher education.

This is an ambitious reform idea. New Mexico will not likely lead the way, but hopefully North Carolina will do it and we’ll be able to see how things work out there first. Unfortunately, given the moribund New Mexico economy, rapidly-declining price of oil, and rising cost of Medicaid, we may not have time to wait for results from the Tarheel State.

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6 Replies to “A BRAC for NM higher education?”

  1. That would be a great idea if education were the priority. My impression is that the mission of New Mexico’s higher education system is to build facilities and provide government jobs. Graduating students is beside the point.

    1. Very true. The requirement that lottery scholarship money must be used at New Mexico institutions only rather than being used by the student for the best option of their choice is another indicator that it is the institutions, not the students that matters.

  2. Wonder if anyone has looked at the percentage of New Mexico students who attend (mostly second-rate) in-state colleges vs. going out of state? The lottery scholarship may contribute to the state’s cultural isolation.

  3. What a novel idea letting the lottery scholarship apply to out of state schools! Too late for us but our kiddo did go out of state. Through the college of his choice, we learned of WUE and WICHE to a reduced rate; the high schools all pushed local institutions to the point of flat out telling us that we could not afford an out of state institution! They knew this . . . how? BTW: He graduated debt free because we did things the old fashioned way: we paid for his education.

    As it stands, the lottery scholarship is nothing but coercion to keep students attending local institutions and allowing those institutions to increase tuition because of the lottery scholarship.

    1. I agree with you 100% Sharon. The scholarship program does help some students, but they are not the prime beneficiaries of the program. Those are the bureaucrats at the big in-state schools. At RGF, we believe that education dollars should benefit those being educated. Of course, the logical end is that we should voucherize all higher education spending.

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