Home News Local News ENMU-R shows lower revenues in preliminary budget

ENMU-R shows lower revenues in preliminary budget

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Shawn Powell, ENMU-R president, during an April 2019 meeting. (Daily Record File Photo)

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Administrators say tuition freeze will benefit students

The spread of COVID-19 is waning in Chaves County right now, but the pandemic’s effects are still causing some pain on the operating budgets for Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, including a preliminary expectation of a half-million-dollar decrease in operating revenues for the next fiscal year.

System and college administrators are emphasizing instead that tuition and fees will not increase at any of the three ENMU campuses for the coming year.

ENMU-Roswell President Shawn Powell said that freezing tuition should help students return to the college.

“We recognize the financial challenges our students face now more than ever,” he said. “We hope by keeping our tuition and fees at their current levels, we enable more students to choose ENMU-Roswell as they pursue their higher educational goals.”

Tony Major, ENMU-R vice president of business affairs, told Community College Board members during a Wednesday meeting that the decision also involved faculty and students.

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“We formed a tuition and fees committee that met pretty frequently with student and faculty representation, and we looked really closely at our current tuition and fee structure and what should we do, did we want to make any changes, and the committee recommended no changes to tuition and fees,” he said.

According to the catalog, ENMU-Roswell students who are Chaves County residents and enrolled full time carrying 12 to 18 credit hours pay $1,128 a semester. Part-time in-district students taking 11 credit hours or less pay $94 per credit hour, which is also the amount that in-district full-time students pay for additional credit hours when they exceed 18 credit hours.

But no tuition increases, coupled with flat enrollment projections, translate into significantly less revenues as the local college prepares its first budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Major said that 2021-22 unrestricted revenues have been estimated at $17.59 million, down $587,854 from the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Most of the budget decrease in the unrestricted revenues — about $500,000 — is attributed to a decrease in tuition, student fees and revenues associated with student spending, he said.

The projected 2021-22 decrease is on top of a $2.49 million drop in unrestricted revenues already experienced for the current fiscal year. The original 2020-21 budget expected $19.39 million in unrestricted revenues. The adjusted final budget puts revenues at $16.9 million.

Still, Major told board members, the numbers for 2021-22 are just preliminary.

“Really a budget is a best guess with the assumptions we have at this time,” he said. “Six months from now, things will be very different in a very positive way. I am being very positive with that.”

What is expected to change is a return of students. Powell said the college has budgeted as if there will be no enrollment growth next fiscal year. Due to COVID-19 and public health restrictions, ENMU-R had 695 fewer students for spring 2021, a 31% decrease from the prior year. 

Yet, while planning for no growth, administrators are expecting to see enrollment rebound no later than spring 2022, Powell said.

The budget forecast also contained some good news.

Restricted revenues, typically grant money that must be used for specific programs or purposes, is expected to be $13.57 million, a $1 million increase from the 2020-21 budget.

Major also pointed out that reserve funds are more than double what is required by the state. For the coming year, they will be $1.1 million, about 6.6% of the instruction and general fund expenditures. The state requires at least a 3% reserve.

In addition, the college is expecting or already has received significant state capital outlay funds of about $11.3 million. The money will be used to complete the Physical Plant building, as well as the renovation of the building for automotive and welding programs. In addition, projects expected to start in the coming year include electrical panel upgrades, an enhanced campus security project involving upgrades to exterior lighting and the installation of security cameras and related equipment; and upgrades of restrooms and replacement of sewer lines.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.