Will higher ed funding hit $0 in New Mexico in 2018?

Dive Brief:

  • New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed 100% of higher education funding for next fiscal year, The Washington Post reports, and the legislature won't be able to overturn her veto. Public colleges and universities in the state have seen a 32% drop in funding since the recession. 
  • Increases to the state's public school system were also a part of the veto package, continuing a downward trend that has amounted to a 14% cut in public school funding since the recession. 
  • Martinez expressed frustration over the state Senate's failure to schedule confirmation hearings for her Board of Regents nominees. New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers decried the idea that the state's public universities are getting "caught up in political strategy," and Democratic leaders in the legislature are planning to sue the governor over the veto.

Dive Insight:

A 2012 report from the American Council on Education projected state funding for higher education would reach $0 by 2059, but noted "it could happen much sooner in some states and later in others." And while it is not likely this latest move will actually result in no state money being spent on public higher ed, the mere threat is a reminder of the dire straits facing many public institutions around the country. University of Maryland Chancellor Bob Caret pointed out in a December roundtable sponsored by the TIAA Institute that the cost of educating students has largely not increased in the last 40 years, but the continuing state divestment in higher education has caused a rapid spike in tuition costs.

At both the K-12 and higher ed levels, increased private partnerships will be the key to sustaining cuts at both state and federal levels. In Dallas, for example, strong partnerships between the Dallas Independent School District and corporations headquartered in the region provide additional funding and supplemental STEM programming for schools in the district. And in Boston, a plan to introduce a similar adopt-a-school initiative is underway. 

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Filed Under: Higher Ed K12 Policy & Regulation