The University of New Mexico


Media contact:  Susan McKinsey, 277-1807
(cell) 505-362-5530,


December 10, 2009

UNM Covers Mid-year Rescission, Prepares for Future Budget Cuts

The University of New Mexico has plans in place to cover its third budget reduction in less than 12 months while avoiding layoffs and mandatory furloughs.  In outlining those plans to the Board of Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee, UNM President David J. Schmidly warned that any further cost reductions will necessitate fundamental restructuring of the organization. 

“In the face of significantly reduced state funding and increasing expenses, we must focus carefully on our priorities and strategic objectives,” said Schmidly.  “We must build a new model that will change the way we work, but not the quality of the work we do.”

To meet the most recent rescission approved during the special session of the New Mexico Legislature in October, UNM will use $3 million of surplus tuition from fall enrollment growth along with $3.741 million of stimulus money that has been pledged by Governor Bill Richardson after the first of the year.  In addition, $741,100 will come from reserves and $872,800 from special line item appropriations (the 6.5% cut to special projects approved by Legislature) to cover the total $8.355 million rescission for main campus.   Schmidly said the use of one-time stimulus money and extra tuition dollars will protect fund balances in anticipation of future cuts in FY 2011.

This plan has been reviewed with the deans, various faculty leadership committees and other constituency groups and has their support.

While speaking of budget allocations, the President also noted that over the past two years, the university has allocated new revenues totaling $7,155,000 during the budget process.  Of this amount, 94% or $6,705,000 went to academic initiatives, with the remaining 6% going to non-academic programs.

In planning for the three reductions over the past year, UNM has been committed to avoiding layoffs and mandatory furloughs; protecting the classroom and faculty lines; and holding harmless the research mission of the university, as well as special projects relating to ethnic support centers.  At the same time, UNM pledged to keep tuition affordable for students, keep cost increases in its benefits package to a minimum, and reduce costs by becoming more efficient. 

“All in all, I believe we have done a good job of meeting those commitments,” said Schmidly.  “But moving forward with the likelihood of additional state funding cuts, it will become necessary to reevaluate our ability to continue all of these commitments.”

Schmidly called on all campus constituencies to engage in intense conversation about the challenges that lie ahead.  He said the campus will have to look at changes that could possibly entail flattening the organization chart, re-thinking how teaching is done and courses are delivered. 
“Such changes will inevitably involve people and their work and will be a difficult task,” said Schmidly.

The President called on the campus to carefully examine every dollar of I&G expenditure in light of how it supports the university’s core mission.  He also urged the elimination of all new hiring for administrative and staff positions except those deemed mission critical. 

This action would not apply to hiring faculty, in order to insure appropriate student/faculty ratio, high standards of instruction and support for degree completion. Noting the desire of some faculty for the development of a retirement incentive program, the President said the time was right to examine the cost of implementing such a plan, as it could help foster continued growth and diversity of the faculty.

Should additional cuts be deep enough, the President said some sort of tiered furlough plan might have to be considered.

Transformational change “will and must be done together, guided by our overarching strategic framework and values and implemented using time-tested university governance and administrative processes,” said Schmidly.   “It is work that will require all of our engagement, as ideas are proposed, decisions are made and changes are implemented over time.”


The University of New Mexico is the state's largest university, serving more than 34,000 students. UNM is home to the state's only schools of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture and operates New Mexico's only academic health center. UNM is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation.