Pandemic forces community college consolidation in New Mexico

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

The New Mexico State University system announced that it will restructure its higher education system to reduce expenses, due to the pandemic’s effects on declining enrollment across New Mexico’s colleges and budget cuts.

According to Inside Higher Ed, instead of continuing operations as stand-alone colleges, the state will consolidate leadership at three of its campuses: Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants. The three campuses will operate as branch campuses instead of individual ones. It will save an estimated $1 million for the system.

System chancellor Dan Arvizu admitted that the state cannot afford to prop up its many universities and colleges, “It’s been known for a number of years that we’ve got way too many institutions. The state — which provides a very generous amount of support relative to other states — simply can’t afford all these various institutions.” The majority of higher education revenue for the system, or three-quarters of its revenue, came from state appropriations (i.e. state taxpayers as approved by state lawmakers).

New Mexico is one of five states where student enrollment has declined at least ten percent in the past decade.

The state’s legislature proposed budget cuts to slash four percent from research and public service projects and six percent from the state’s general higher education funding