Is Higher Ed Being Gutted?

Source: New Mexico Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, 2005 and 2015 editions

Student “leaders” at the state’s government-run universities “firmly believe that access to higher education is more important than ever in New Mexico.” Then they should be delighted that between 2005 and 2015, more students attended the state’s postsecondary institutions, and more degrees/certificates were awarded. In addition, spending grew — substantially.

Data from the state’s comprehensive annual financial reports show that in the 2005 fiscal year, inflation-adjusted expenses on higher education stood at $2.424 billion. A decade later, the sum had grown to $3.042 billion. (See graph above.)

Another useful statistic is the share of higher-ed spending covered by “charges for services.” In 2005, 64.9 percent of expenditures were paid┬áby tuition, fees, and the like. In 2015, that share had plummeted, to 51.5 percent.

So not only is spending up, significantly, but students are carrying a lighter share of the system’s overall costs. Something to remember, as the governor and legislators face off over her “wholesale elimination of the funding for higher education.”