University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 8210: Tuition and Related Fees

Date Originally Issued: 11-01-1991
Revised: 09-25-1992, 01-01-1993, 05-08-1998, 05-22-2006, 06-19-2009, 02-01-2013, 11-25-2014, 02-20-2015

Authorized by RPM 3.1 (“Responsibilities of the President”) and RPM 4.7 (“Tuition and Fees”)

Process Owners: University President, Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Chancellor for Health Sciences

1. General

The University President has responsibility for developing a process for the establishment of tuition and fee rates, and for making recommendations to the Board of Regents, which has ultimate authority for approving tuition and fee rates, including differential tuition.  All changes to tuition and fee rates, including differential tuition, go into effect on the first day of the fall semester following the Regents’ approval. In all stages of the process, which the University President develops in conjunction with the Provost, Chancellor for Health Sciences, and the Branch Campus Advisory Boards, the University must incorporate:

  • the five elements of collaboration, inclusiveness, transparency, timeliness, and accountability
  • regular communication with the Board of Regents
  • meaningful opportunities for student involvement

Each semester, the University publishes tuition and fee rates on the Bursar’s Office website.   Various tuition discounts are available, and a complete list is available on the Bursar’s Office website including WICHE and senior citizen discounts.  The payment and processing of tuition and fees is the responsibility of the Bursar’s Office, and is detailed in UAP 8215 (“Bursar’s Office Operation and Services”) and on the Bursar’s Office website.

2. Tuition

Tuition charges are based on many factors, including the following elements:

  • current tuition and fee rates
  • student's residency status
  • campus of attendance
  • number of credit hours taken
  • student's enrollment level (undergraduate, graduate)
  • participation in exchange programs
  • student's age (senior citizens' discounts)
  • date when the student adds or drops courses and the reason

If the University raises tuition, it is strongly recommended that an amount equal to twenty percent (20%) of the incremental tuition revenue generated should be designated for need-based financial aid. 

Tuition revenue is pooled with the University’s annual state appropriation funding and other miscellaneous revenue as the Instruction and General (I & G) allocation.  The I & G allocation is distributed to academic and administrative units.

2.1. Residency Status

The University charges different tuition and fee rates for New Mexico residents and non-residents, as mandated by New Mexico law.  The New Mexico Higher Education Department defines qualifications for resident rates, including students who:

  • are New Mexico residents, or
  • are graduates of New Mexico high schools after attending at least one year, or
  • have military-resident status approved by the University Registrar's Office, or
  • are enrolled in a summer session, or
  • are classified as residents for tuition purposes by the State of New Mexico or the Registrar's Office, including, for example, Amigo Scholars (Competitive Scholarship recipients); qualified Colorado residents participating in a reciprocal agreement; and qualified Native American students who are members of a tribe or pueblo located wholly or partially in New Mexico.

2.2. Differential Tuition

Differential tuition may be approved for certain programs of instruction.  Ultimately, the Board of Regents approves differential tuition.  The Board bases its decisions on recommendations from the Provost or Chancellor, which are made to the Regents through the budget development process. Differential tuition is assessed on all credit hours for students who are admitted into a program for which differential tuition has been justified and approved.   In no case, shall a student pay more than one differential tuition for the same course.

Differential tuition is typically authorized for professional programs of departments, schools, and colleges; however, other programs may sometimes qualify for differential tuition.  To qualify for differential tuition, programs are expected to have a significant number of the following characteristics:

  • Program competes in more expensive regional or national markets which requires more resources to remain competitive, including the ability to attract faculty who demand higher salaries;
  • Program accreditation standards mandate various other measures and outcomes that require significant financial investment to achieve;
  • Curricula contain clinical education and/or laboratory science components requiring significant investment in costly equipment and related technology;
  • Curricula provide numerous experiential learning opportunities requiring low student-faculty ratios;
  • Program requirements are geared toward meeting licensure requirements;
  • Curricula are weighted toward required, as opposed to elective, courses;
  • Program justifies higher tuition due to factors above and the high salaries offered to graduates in the national job market; or
  • Program necessitates expenditures above those required for typical undergraduate and graduate programs of instruction, and beyond the level of additional support available from class and curricular fees alone.  

2.2.1. Approval of Differential Tuition at the Department, School, or College Level

Deans and directors contemplating differential tuition should provide meaningful student and faculty involvement in the decision to seek differential tuition.  Proposals for differential tuition must be posted on the unit’s website no later than October 1 to allow for at least 30 days of constituent comment prior to submission of the Differential Tuition Request Form to the Provost or Chancellor.  Requests for differential tuition must be submitted to the Provost or Chancellor by November 1, and include a certification that students and faculty were involved in the request process.  

2.2.2.  Differential Tuition Revenue and Financial Aid Set Asides

The revenue collected from the differential tuition shall be allocated directly to the individual program generating the revenue. 

Programs that establish a differential tuition rate are strongly encouraged to set aside a portion of the revenue generated by the differential for need-based financial aid for the students charged the higher tuition.  A plan for providing need-based financial aid should be included in the Differential Tuition Request Form.

2.2.3.  Differential Tuition Request Process

Programs must submit their justifications for tuition differentials to the Provost or Chancellor on the Differential Tuition Request Form.  The Provost or Chancellor will review the request and determine whether the tuition differential is justified.  If the Provost or Chancellor determines the request is justified, the request will be forwarded to the University President for approval and, if approved, to the Board of Regents for ultimate approval.   

When differential tuition rates are approved for a particular program, it is strongly recommended that those rates remain in effect for three years following approval to the next review period, unless the approved request includes phased-in incremental increases.

2.2.4.  Publication of Approved Differential Tuition Information

The Bursar’s Office will publish the approved differential tuition rates on its website.  The Differential Tuition Request Forms for all approved differential tuition, including continuation requests, will be posted on a core office’s website and on the website of the unit receiving the differential tuition. 

2.2.5.  Review of Differential Tuition

A new Differential Tuition Request Form must be submitted every three (3) years to the Provost or Chancellor to justify continuing the tuition differential rate.  The Provost or Chancellor will review the Differential Tuition Request Form to determine if the differential tuition rates are still justified, based on the same factors as discussed in Section 2.2. 

2.2.6.  Accountability to Students

Departments, schools, and colleges should maintain records and communicate in a manner that provides maximum transparency to students concerning the process by which differential tuition rates are justified and the uses of those revenues. 

2.2.7.  Responsibility and Authority

  • The Provost or Chancellor is responsible for:
    • Reviewing the justifications for differential tuition
    • Reviewing the justifications for continuing differential tuition every three (3) years, and, if justified, approving continuation of differential tuition without modification
  •  The Board of Regents is responsible for:
    • Approving new differential tuition amounts and any modifications to existing differential tuition
  • A core office and the unit receiving the approved differential tuition will post the Differential Tuition Request Forms, including for continuation requests, on their websites within thirty (30) days of the approval date.

  •  The Bursar’s Office will post the approved differential tuition rates on its website.

2.2.8.  Existing Differential Tuition

In order to align all assessments of differential tuition under the requirements of this policy and to provide accountability to students, within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this policy revision, any department, school, or college that previously has been approved for a differential tuition must submit a Differential Tuition Request Form to the Provost or Chancellor for review and the determination of the appropriateness of continuation.

3. Fees

In addition to tuition, all students are charged mandatory fees as described in Section 3.1 below.  Some students may be charged various course fees depending on their class enrollment and degree program, as described in Section 3.2 below.  Additional information on fees and fee rates is posted on the Bursar’s Office website.

3.1. Mandatory Fees

Mandatory student fees are recurring fees assessed to all students registered on Main Campus and certain students at the Health Sciences Center.  These fees include a student activity fee, student government fee, and facility/information technology debt service fee.  

Student activity fees are centrally collected and allocated, in accordance with UAP 1310 (“Student Fee Review Board”), up to the approved budgeted amount for each of the units receiving the fees. 

Student government fees are assessed for undergraduates by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico and for graduate students by the Graduate and Professional Student Association.

A debt service fee with two components, a facility fee and an enterprise resource planning project fee, is assessed to fund the repayment of outstanding principal and interest on bonds sold by the University.  The fee is calculated based upon the amount needed by the University to make required debt service payments and set at the time bonds are issued.

3.2 Course Fees

Course fees are charged at the time of registration to students enrolling in specific courses.  They are not included in the “mandatory fees” portion of “tuition and fees,” which are paid by all students.  Requests for course fees are made to and approved by the Provost or the Chancellor.  Course fees are intended to help defray costs specifically associated with certain courses, and are not intended to replace general operating costs, which are paid from tuition.  All students who pay course fees must benefit from the fees charged.  Course fees are listed in the “Schedule of Classes” posted on the Registrar’s Office website. At the time of registration, a student should have full information on the amount and types of course fees that will be charged for that semester.

There are two (2) types of course fees: class fees and curricular fees. 

3.2.1. Class Fees

A class fee is charged to support the instructional needs of a specific course.  The fee is used to pay for required, uniquely identifiable materials or services provided to students that exceed the costs of supplies normally required. Class fees may be approved and implemented if they cover any of the following expenses: 

  • Cost of activities related to a course (e.g., field trip, tickets to off-campus lecture or event)
  • Private instruction and models (e.g., guest speakers, models, tutors)
  • An object or product of value retained by the student (e.g., artwork, safety gear)
  • Class costs (e.g., specialized equipment or materials, safety protections, laboratory supplies, products)

Class fees may not be used to fund any of the following costs:

  • The cost of any instructor of record or assistants
  • Regular classroom materials and supplies (e.g., paper, photo copies, markers, chalk)
  • Faculty and staff computers, equipment, and general non-program-specific software

3.2.2. Curricular Fees

A curricular fee is charged to support curricular needs in the department, college, or school.  This fee funds short-term and long-term needs for the purpose of instructing students, including technology, broadly shared materials and equipment, and other expenses relevant to multiple courses in a program.  A curricular fee can be assessed as a per-credit-hour fee or predetermined flat fee.  Curricular fees may be approved and implemented if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • Expendable curricular costs (e.g., computer hardware and software, networking components, cameras, projectors and recorders, maintenance fees, sound equipment, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, gross anatomy program support)
  • Personnel costs associated with curriculum support (e.g., technical staff support and training course development)
  • Student progress assessments, clinical or practical skills assessments, and standardized patient costs
  • Supplemental instruction programs
  • Support of program research requirements and student travel to present research 
  • Medical education computer support including provision of tutorial and standardized patient computer interfaces (HSC only)
  • Develop, install, and maintain technology capabilities in lecture halls and classrooms

Curricular fees may not be used to fund any of the following costs:

  • The cost of any instructor of record or assistants
  • Administrative equipment and supplies
  • Faculty and staff computers, equipment, and general non-program-specific software
  • Equipment not used by or accessible to students
  • Facility remodeling other than for classrooms and instructional labs
  • Regular classroom materials and supplies
  • Scholarships (except for the Music Department)
  • Travel costs for faculty and staff (except when related to program-specific field trips or HSC clinical experiences)

3.2.3. Payment of Course Fees

Approved fees are collected by the University Cashier Department. Academic departments are not authorized to collect course fees directly from students. Course fees are refunded according to Section 5 of UAP 8215 (“Bursar’s Office Operations and Services”).  Departmental requests to waive all or part of a course fee must be sent to the Bursar's Office and include a detailed justification.

3.2.4. Authorization to Assess Course Fees

Assessment of course fees requires the approval of the Provost or the Chancellor.  Requests for all course fees must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate dean or branch director prior to submission to the Provost or Chancellor, as applicable, for approval.  Subsequent approvals are not required each semester unless a change in the fee, course title, or receiving index number occurs.

3.2.5. Publication of Course Fees

All course fees, along with a brief rationale, must be published on the Bursar’s Office website.

3.2.6. Review of Course Fees

Colleges, schools, and departments must review course fees at least every two (2) years to ensure that expenses are allowable, reasonable, and timely.  The Provost’s Office or Chancellor will submit summary findings of these reviews annually to the Board of Regents.

3.2.7. Accountability to Students

Students may submit a written request to the department, school, or college the fee resides under requesting accountability of course fees assessed.  The request should state the specific fee and, in the case of class fees, the specific course number and semester.  The department, school, or college will respond to the student with the information as soon as possible, but no later than sixty (60) days after receipt of the request.

3.2.8. Responsibility and Authority

The Provost's Office or Chancellor is responsible for the following functions:

  • Approving course fees
  • Insuring publication of course fees on the Bursar’s Office website

Reviewing course fees and reporting on course fees to the Board of Regents every two (2) years.