NMSU student creates petition to lower tuition during pandemic


NMSU student Alexandra Wylie creates petition to lower tuition.

In response to a tuition increase at New Mexico State University for the 2020-2021 academic year during the COVID-19 pandemic, one NMSU student created an online petition titled “Lower New Mexico State University (NMSU) Tuition for Fall 2020” in July to ask the Board of Regents to consider lowering tuition at NMSU’s main campus.

On April 21, the NMSU Board of Regents approved a 3% tuition increase for NMSU’s Las Cruces campus and a zero percent tuition increase for its community colleges. At that time, the Board of Regents had to vote on tuition increases while being uncertain of how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect NMSU in the fall.

NMSU sophomore Alexandra Wylie said she felt inspired to start the petition after reading similar online petitions created by students from other universities who shared the concern of unexpected financial hardships related to COVID-19.

“I just started seeing everyone from other colleges start one,” Wylie said. “We are all struggling in many different ways from financial issues to personal issues and lowering the tuition would be extremely helpful to all students.”

Wylie stated in her online petition, which has collected at least 3,929 signatures so far, that lowering tuition would reduce levels of stress for students at NMSU and that students returning to campus puts them at risk for contracting the coronavirus.

“It’s risky enough to have us students going back with the possibility of putting many of us at risk of contracting the virus. Lowering tuition would help students complete the education we wish to have while not adding onto the already staggering stress and problems when it comes to these financial circumstances,” Wylie said.

Some NMSU students shared their reasons for signing Wylie’s petition in the comment section of the website. Some reasons included unemployment, less access to campus amenities and concerns that online education may have less value compared to in-person education.

Jordyn Gallegos, an NMSU student, said in the petition’s comment section that the university should help students financially during the pandemic.

“If I do not get to use the on campus amenities included in tuition then I believe that the tuition cost should be lowered. Also, in this very difficult time where many people are struggling financially, the university should do all it can to ease the burdens of its students,” Gallegos said.

Another NMSU student, Amanda Barnett, said she understood why the Board of Regents wanted to raise tuition back in April but felt that the board’s timing was not good for students.

“I feel like it’s to great fund these school projects and scholarships, but I don’t think it’s a good idea at the moment,” Barnett said. “Too much is going on right now and many of us are just trying to get back to normal–it’s not a good time to increase prices.”

According to meeting minutes from the Board of Regents’ April 21 meeting, Regent Debra Hicks said that changes to NMSU’s 2020-2021 fiscal year budget can be changed but that changes to tuition, however, cannot be made.

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