By: Luis “Luigi” Finston
NMSU is still feeling the repercussions from a 12-million-dollar budget cut this year. From having degree programs, faculty, and student organizations losing half of their budget, all aspects of the NMSU community are feeling helpless as to what they can do to survive here on campus.
The budget cut comes at a time when the state of New Mexico itself is in a financial drought. Oil, gas and other state revenues are down 10 percent. Furthermore, New Mexico high school graduation rates are down, and the state appropriations for a higher learning are down by 2.4 percent.
The state’s population is decreasing as well, particularly in 15 to 19 year olds by 7.63 percent. This is one of the University’s target demographic and age groups to appeal to since this is the age of a high school student.
The enrollment of NMSU decreased significantly. According to a news article published in the Las Cruces Sun News in September, the freshmen enrollment is down on the main campus by 8.2 percent from 1,996 in 2015 to 1,844 this year.
The University lost close to 126 positions, with the Engineering Surveying and Equestrian Team at risk for losing their programs.
Students at NMSU have been noticing changes at school. Some colleges were hit harder than others. Justine Del Castillo is a Junior and Early Childhood Education major at the College of Education.
“I know that classes were very limited this time around with the recent cuts”, she said.
“Professors who are currently teaching had to take on more classes and that caused a little friction, because now they can’t spend as much time with the students as the usually would.”
Castillo keeps in touch with the Residence Hall Association at NMSU and added that they suffered a huge budget cut as well. This in turn, caused them to hire less RA’s.
“I feel if the University doesn’t take some type of action to improve the situation, it will hit us harder”, she said. “Students will be upset because they are spending their time and money, to get the education to advance in their careers.”
The university cut 5.5 million from academic units, which amounts to 5.4 percent of the academic budget. Three faculty positions were eliminated, along with 34 filled staff positions.
Students in the College of Education are not the only ones feeling the effect. Alex Benavidez is sophomore studying Engineering and Physics. “The Physics department and professors are super close nit and kind of like a niche, but you’ll always hear the professors saying you might not see me next year because of budget cuts.”
Benavidez said the thing that bothered him the most about this was seeing the best professors he’s had in his college career being cut.
“In registration alone, it was hard to get a spot”, he said. “We went from having multiple people registering for many classes, to one professor packed, and if you missed your appointment then you missed your chance to be in the class.”
Benavidez added that in some classes, such as Thermodynamics, only two sections were offered, and there are 90 some students in the class. Where in the past, the class had a more even ratio of teacher to students, it’s now turned into a lecture hall class.
“The way I see it, 12 million dollars is huge, and if you’re making a cut that big then it has to be for coming years. I feel like another four to eight years will pass before they decide to make a major change”, Benavidez said.