Two New Mexico Military Institute cadets take a break in the shade during the final weeks of the school year last year. (File Photo)
New Mexico Military Institute announced this week that the school’s board of regents approved a reduction in tuition for New Mexico residents who wish to participate in the program, which offers students academics within a military-type setting.
“We were trying to look at opportunities across the board to attract students. We understand of course where our customers are from. Primarily we have students who come from the state of New Mexico,” said NMMI Chief of Staff Col. David West.
For New Mexico students, West said aside from meeting the academic requirements in order to be accepted to the school, the other major hurdle potential students face is being able to afford tuition.
“The second issue that’s significant in the state of New Mexico obviously is economics. So we were trying to find a way, determine a way to help reduce the impact of the economic hurdle for the students of New Mexico,” West said.
Last fall, staff members met to discuss different scenarios on how to attract more local students. Comparing the Institute’s value with other schools like NMMI, they readjusted international fees.
“We looked at that globally and said, ‘How do we stack up against our competitors?’ Certainly, NMMI is still a great value internationally, so (international tuition rates) went up,” West said.
Though fees for the Institute’s international students have risen, the value for international students, according to West, is still considerable.
The proposal was presented at the regular scheduled board of regents meeting earlier this month and approved.
“It’s simply the matter of NMMI’s commitment to New Mexico first, to try to benefit those students. The cost of an in-state full-time student for the first year is about $12,000 after the land grant impact and that doesn’t include uniforms and stuff like that, but what they were looking at was about $1,700 in tuition, dropping to $400 a year, which is a 76 percent reduction,” West said.
They also considered the economics of volume when deciding to reduce tuition.
“Let’s say we have 25 or 50 empty beds, and empty beds, well, those are sunk costs to us on an annual basis. We turn the lights on, we turn the air conditioners on, the computers are up, the staff hired, they’re all sunk costs and none of the fees and tuition are there to cover those costs,” West said.
West said the tuition decrease for New Mexico students is a tuition decrease and nothing more.
“There’s no trick here. We’re not shapeshifting here, we’re not taking tuition and moving it to fees. There were slight increases to fees, like $25 for uniforms, things like that, but there’s no trick. That’s how we’re doing it. We’re doing it on volume, number one, but we’re also doing it on evaluation of tuition on other areas,” West said.
Next year, West said the Institute would like to see an increase of 50 more students from within the state. Currently about 35 percent of NMMI’s student body is from New Mexico.
“It is a rigorous academic structured around a military- type setting. It’s not the military, but it’s a military-type setting. There’s huge opportunity to learn leadership here that’s so significantly different than any other place,” West said.
Because of the focus on academics and leadership, West said graduates have bright futures.
“From an academic standpoint, we send youth everywhere. They do go to the service academies, which are engineering centric, they go to Ivy League schools, they go to any of the big power schools out there and they’re able to accelerate themselves,” West said.
Another advantage of attending the institute is that cadets have the opportunity to take both high school and college classes if they are inclined.
“We’ve had two young ladies graduate from high school and junior college at the same time, same day,” West said.
Since the announcement, there’s been about a 20 percent increase in student applications.
“Which in total raw numbers, that’s not huge, but certainly it’s an uptick, so definitely there is some interest in this. We’re here for the benefit of the citizens of New Mexico first, so that’s what we’re doing,” West said.
New Mexico students who have attended a school within the state or a homeschooling program in the previous year and are admitted to NMMI will receive a tuition rate of $400 per year, resulting in a 76 percent reduction and coupled with the Knowles Legislative Scholarship, provides an education, valued at $35,000 for a first year student to be as low as $5,874. In addition, returning students may be as low as $3,500. Monthly payment plans and scholarships are also available and college students are eligible for federal financial aid.
“Our commitment is to build on our first 125 years of service to the citizens of the state we call home. We are committed to New Mexico’s future and educating New Mexico’s future leaders,” said Gen. Jerry Grizzle, NMMI superintendent, in a news release.
For more information about NMMI, contact the admissions office at 575-624-8653 or visit nmmi.edu.
Staff writer Bethany Freudenthal may be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.