“lost nearly $2 million in tuition and fees last year”
Lower enrollment and the pandemic have forced the school to make some difficult decisions.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Falling Tuition Revenues, Rising Tensions
Santa Fe Community College has had better days. College administrators canceled five academic programs, laid off four faculty members and cut eight staff positions this spring. Those decisions followed other tough budget-cutting measures last year, including the termination of 68 employees, the reduction of 20 unfilled positions and the closure of the campus bookstore and food services.
“The pandemic has introduced numerous financial challenges and exacerbated existing ones,” Becky Rowley, the president of the New Mexico college, said in a statement last month announcing and explaining the cuts to the members of the campus. “As a public tax-funded enterprise, it’s our duty to serve our community as an efficient, sustainable, and nimble institution … For me personally, this is a really difficult situation. I want you to know that I believe we are making every effort to respond to the gravity of our circumstances with compassion and a continued dedication to the students and the community we serve.”
While the pandemic has brought on painful belt-tightening decisions at many other community colleges nationwide, the cuts at Santa Fe have been especially difficult.
The institution lost nearly $2 million in tuition and fees last year, a 30 percent drop from the previous academic year, because of steep enrollment declines. Fall 2020 enrollment fell about 27 percent, to 3,906 students, from 5,455 in fall 2019. The decline was more than double the national average for community colleges. Santa Fe administrators formally declared financial exigency in May 2020.
“Two million dollars to our colleges is a gigantic amount of money to have to deal with,” said Nick Telles, vice president of finance at Santa Fe. He noted that eliminating the programs and faculty positions, including two unfilled slots, saved the college $454,000. The college has a $1.2 million deficit.
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