ABQ Journal on higher education bloat actually underestimates the issue

The Albuquerque Journal did an important public service to New Mexicans with its two-part series on New Mexico’s unsustainable higher education system. Part 1 is the most important part containing the big-picture data and a broad overview of the problem. Unfortunately, as New Mexico’s Legislature grapples with the budget, it shows no signs of systematically addressing the fundamental issues in higher education.

As we’ve noted before, New Mexico’s spends 6th-most of any state per full-time student. Clearly, it is not getting a great return on that investment in terms of economic growth or an educated workforce.

Amazingly, while the map that ran with the Journal story (below) was dotted with campuses, it actually under-reports the issue. CNM is listed as one dot on the map, for example, yet it has 7 branches not including its main campus.

Western New Mexico University has campuses in Gallup, Deming, and Lordsburg, none of which are shown on the map.

NMSU has an Albuquerque campus and UNM has its West Side campus which is also not found on the map.

In other words, New Mexico’s higher education bureaucracy is extremely bloated and expensive. Cutting back would be an important means of saving limited resources and concentrating them in ways that improve the system’s mediocre outcomes. Alas, the Legislature has not addressed the issue in any serious way this session.

State cuts, fewer students put NM higher ed in crisis