CMU joins schools in tuition exchange with New Mexico

Colorado Mesa University has been added to the list of schools participating in an agreement that allows New Mexico students to attend Colorado schools for in-state tuition, and vice-versa.

The New Mexico-Colorado Tuition Reciprocity Agreement, recently approved for 2012 through 2015, allows the equivalent of up to 500 full-time students from Colorado to attend New Mexico colleges or universities for the in-state tuition rate charged by those schools. The agreement makes room for the same number of students to come to Colorado from New Mexico and pay in-state rates, minus the state-funded Colorado Opportunity Fund grant awarded to all Colorado students. The program began three decades ago and has been renewed every three years by the neighboring states.

Colorado Mesa has been allocated 10 full-time student slots for New Mexico students in the new agreement. New Mexico students approved to participate in the reciprocity agreement will pay $265.41 per credit hour to attend Colorado Mesa this fall, while other New Mexico students will pay $312.22 per credit hour. Rick Taggart, executive director of marketing and student recruitment for CMU, said the university likely will choose students to fill the 10 slots based on academic prowess and/or their interest in athletics at the school. He said New Mexico students selected for the discount will be notified by the end of this month.

Colorado Mesa and the other seven Colorado schools and 25 New Mexico schools participating in the exchange will not be compensated by either state for accepting lower tuition rates for reciprocity students. Taggart said Colorado Mesa wanted to be part of the reciprocity agreement because of a desire to bring more New Mexico students to campus. New Mexico is the sixth-largest contributor of out-of-state students to Colorado Mesa, with about 50 attending the school, according to Taggart. He hopes the students who use the reciprocity agreement to pay in-state tuition will spread the word to their friends, much like students from Hawaii who talked up the school in their home state and made Hawaii the biggest contributor of out-of-state enrollment at CMU.

“That word of mouth is an extremely good example of how ambassadors on campus bring three or four students from their high school or their region for years after” they attend the university, Taggart said. “There are well over 200 Hawaiian students on campus.”

Due to each participating schools’ interest in recruiting out-of-state students, the new reciprocity agreement boosts the number of full-time equivalent students allowed to participate in the program from 400 per state to 500.

Not all slots have been used in the past, although Coloradans tend to use more of the reciprocity allotments. The equivalent of 361 full-time students from Colorado participated in the program while attending New Mexico schools in 2010-11, according to a New Mexico Higher Education Department report. The same year, the equivalent of 297.1 students from New Mexico attended Colorado schools through the agreement, according to a Colorado Commission on Higher Education report.


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