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Regents Report: Tuition To Increase 5 Percent

SOCORRO, N.M. April 17, 2015 – The Board of Regents approved a 5 percent tuition increase at the regular meeting on Sunday, April 12, in Socorro.

New members asked many questions about tuition increases. Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez presented three options: 3, 4 and 5 percent tuition increases. After much discussion, the Board voted 4-1 – with Regent David Gonzales voting against – for a 5 percent increase and a 2 percent salary increase for employees. Lopez said staff members will get 2 percent raises across the board, while the 2 percent increase for faculty will be put into a pool for merit salary increases.

Fall enrollment is 62 above the same time last year, representing a 22 percent increase in paid applicants as of March 31. 341 new students have paid the application fee, compared to 279 in 2014. Vice President Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming said applications are still coming in a brisk pace. Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Learning are working to ensure that Tech can offer enough freshman courses to satisfy the demand.

Lopez reported that the legislature has passed House Bill 2, which includes Tech’s general budget. He said Tech will receive $75,000 for the aerospace engineering program, $7,000 for athletics and $90,000 for the Bureau (above the Bureau’s regular budget). Overall, Tech’s budget will increase by about $280,000.

Lopez said the legislature rejected two proposals that he was seeking: $2 million to consolidate information technology services on campus and architectural money for the planned refurbishment of Jones Hall.

Reporting on behalf of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Dave Raymond said he was pleased that the final draft of the Employee Handbook is ready for final review. The draft was posted online Monday, April 13.

The Board approved several faculty promotions. Dr. Steve Simpson of the CLASS Department was promoted from assistant to associate professor. Four faculty members were promoted to full professor: Dr. Gary Axen of the Earth and Environmental Science Department; Dr. Richard Sonnenfeld of the Physics Department; Dr. Bixiang Wang of the Math Department; and Dr. Warren Ostergren, Vice President of Academic Affairs and of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The Board discussed the search for a new university president and set several deadlines. The university offered a short survey to all employees, which will stay open through April. The job announcement will be prepared by late April, with advertisements placed soon thereafter. Lopez said the search committee should then develop a short list of finalists – three to six individuals. He said the Board should aim to make an offer to their selected candidate no later than February 28, 2016.

The Board approved the final budget adjustment request for 2015, the quarterly financial report and the pro forma budget.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech