University officials were applauded Wednesday for plans to move remedial classes out of UNR and UNLV and into the community colleges.
But they were questioned because they want to delay that move more than a year and don't want their budgets reduced even though the change will move the equivalent of 500 full time students off campus.
Dan Miles representing the university system said the idea is that remedial classes will become self-supporting rather than subsidized by the state because the regents don't believe public funds should absorb the cost of remedial classes. He students will pay fees for remediation the same as they do for community college classes.
Vice Chancellor Christine Chairsell said the change will be implemented in the fall of 2006.
"Why can't it be implemented this fall," said Senate Finance Chairman Bill Raggio, R-Reno.
He said there is no reason not to make the change in fall 2006 because everyone agrees the amount of remedial classes at the campus should be reduced and high schools forced to do a better job of making sure students are ready for college when they apply.
Chairsell said they have implemented a core curriculum for the millennium scholarship program which increases math and science requirements to get the scholarship. But she said they normally phase in changes like that so give students time to meet the higher requirements by high school graduation.
Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, questioned why, if remedial programs are moving to the community college system, "the universities are going to still keep the funding." She said if the burden is going to the community colleges, so should the money.
UNLV Provost Ray Alden said the truth is enrollments at UNR and UNLV won't decrease when remedial classes move off campus. He said the number of Full Time Equivalent students moving to the community colleges will be about 500. But Miles pointed out each of those FTEs could be four students each taking a single remedial class. He said each of them would probably also be taking three or four other regular classes.
"So they're still on campus," Miles said. "The number of students doesn't go down."
Giunchigliani said she is concerned the campuses have been pushing students into remedial classes because they don't have enough lower division regular classes.
Alden said moving the remedial classes off campus would free up space and professor time to offer more of those regular classes.
Miles also said the system hasn't calculated the financial impact of the change.
Raggio told him the joint Finance, Ways and Means subcommittee would need not only estimates of the financial impact but some information on the feasibility of making the change this next fall instead of waiting a year. He said it's time to move most remedial classes out of the universities.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.