PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – Universities around the state have been seeing a drop in enrollment, and an even bigger drop was expected this semester with a reduction in lottery scholarship funds.
However, one university is seeing exactly the opposite.
Eastern New Mexico University is reaching new heights in its 82-year history.
“We have the highest enrollment ever at Eastern New Mexico University — 6,027 (students),” said Jeff Elwell, ENMU President.
Enrolling 13 more students than last year may not seem like much, but it’s a new record for the school.
It comes at a time when the state’s other big schools are going backwards. Enrollment at both the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State are down almost 3 percent this year.
That’s about 800 students at UNM, and about 400 at NMSU. ENMU officials say in their case, it’s a sign of progress.
“It’s a good trend and even better is our freshman class is five students higher, which really plays out over the next four or six years for graduation rates,” President Elwell added.
No one knows yet if the dwindling lottery scholarship is behind the enrollment drop at UNM and NMSU, but many students on campus at ENMU say the lower tuition is exactly why they chose the university.
“I chose ENMU because tuition is cheap here because I’m in state and I get lottery,” explained freshman Dario Tiqui.
“Tuition was definitely a big factor in deciding where I went,” said Dustin James Roberts, ENMU freshman.
“I came here because it’s the cheapest within miles,” Kyleigh Bridges added.
Besides more students staying — retention rates are also up.
“We improved to 63 percent which is about a 3.5 percent improvement,” President Elwell said.
ENMU’s tuition is about $6,000 a year, which compares to about $7,000 for NMSU and UNM.