University of New Mexico is now looking at some fairly significant tuition increases (8.6 percent). This is a fascinating issue for fiscal conservatives because the die has been cast — the University faces cutbacks — but the makeup of those cutbacks is now being discussed. What we see at a government-run institution is instructive of how government works (or fails to).
Prior to the legislative session, we at RGF argued for higher tuition as a means of solving the budget situation. While we stand by that, it is interesting to note that our other recommendation — closing branch campuses — is not even being considered. Nor was a more symbolic step like abandoning plans to spend $2 million on a baseball stadium. And, of course, as the Albuquerque Journal recently editorialized, plans to raise 1.75 percent increase in pension contributions for state employees, including teachers, have received a chilly reception to say the least. UNM also has 17 highly-paid executive vice presidents. Surely, a few jobs in the Administration could be combined or eliminated in this tough economic time, right?
It would seem that UNM has two main functions: 1) serve its workers by paying them well and providing generous pensions; 2) athletics
It is worth noting that only a competitive, free market in higher education can lead to true efficiency (a la Wal Mart). Until then, resources will continue to be mis-allocated.