PORTALES (KSEL)- Universities in New Mexico have been facing uncertainties during the ongoing pandemic and more than a month ago, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced more than $6 billion had been distributed to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the Vice President of Business Affairs, Scott Smart, the CARES act provided Eastern New Mexico University $1.4 million for the institution or $410 for each full time, degree-seeking student. Part-time students received a lesser amount based on credit hours taken during the spring semester.
The 2019-2020 room/board fees were refunded to all students who lived in the residence halls due to the fact that on-campus learning was canceled and classes continued online. These refunds totaled nearly $750,000.
In an email Smart wrote, “moving forward will be a real challenge. We have not yet been informed by the State of NM as to how much our state appropriation funding will be reduced but we know some level of cuts is coming. The institution spends 80 cents of every dollar on wages and fringes so any solution to a reduction in funding will require adjustments to the level of staffing.”
ENMU has already begun to freeze all new hires, only opening positions that are absolutely critical to be filled.
“We always try to make sure we reduce positions through attrition rather than laying anyone off. Our goal is to protect our people and our mission.”
ENMU reserve funds will be used for a period of time and reviewing any and all expenditures to see if savings can be made. Other steps that officials will look at will be increasing enrollment and delaying some expenditures to future years.