It’s not The Onion. New Mexico’s higher education system supposedly faces a financial crisis. Cuts in recent years have just been terrible, we are told. At the Rio Grande Foundation we have criticized the proliferation of branch campuses.
Yet, as reported in the Las Cruces Sun-News late last week, the Board of Regents at New Mexico State University is having serious conversations about opening a brand new campus in Mexico.
According to University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers “the new campus would allow students to go and study in a different country, but on a campus with the NMSU flag.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with semesters abroad or student exchange programs, but why, when the University is supposedly under a great deal of financial pressure, would this conversation even come up?
Rather than a new campus in one part of Mexico, NMSU should redouble efforts to allow students to study abroad and receive credit for it back at their home institution. With declining student populations we need fewer branch campuses both within New Mexico…and abroad.