UNM spending explodes as New Mexico already spends heavily on higher education

According to the Albuquerque Journal’s recent reporting the University of New Mexico’s budget is growing rapidly and hitting new “milestones.” According to the article, main campus’ budget topped $1 billion and the consolidated budget, which includes the university’s massive health system, jumped 9.2% from the year before and was set at nearly $4.1 billion.

Not surprisingly the article attributes main campus’ large increase to the new Opportunity Scholarship (free college) program and a few large construction and improvement projects. You can see past UNM budgets for yourself here, but we were unable to find the proposed FY 2024 budget on the site.

But, even before the recent run-up in spending due to fat budgets AND the new Opportunity Scholarship program,  New Mexico spends a great deal on higher education relative to other states. According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) New Mexico spent $11,564 per-full-time student among states. That’s 7th most among US states.

Of course 2021 is a few years ago and a major expansion of “free” college ago. Will all this new spending “move the needle” for New Mexico’s economy and overall education? We’re skeptical.