College funding plan boosts south, cuts north

LAS VEGAS - Western Nevada College would receive about $4.5 million less under a new college funding proposal proposed by the Nevada Board of Regents.

Recommendations presented Friday by the Regents are aimed at making the budget more fair and transparent, although it could mean pain for Northern Nevada colleges that see their money shift south, university officials said.

The two-year plan recommended in a 12-1 vote would be based on the number of students who complete courses rather than the number of students who enroll in a course. It would also fund courses differently if they cost more to offer. The proposal now heads to lawmakers for consideration.

Chancellor Dan Klaich said there's been resistance to the plan on two fronts.

"This hasn't been a friend-making project," Klaich said at Friday's Board of Regents meeting, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Colleges getting a bump from the plan want even more, he said, while those losing money "feel they have been slighted."

About $13.2 million would be cut from four colleges and redistributed to University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the College of Southern Nevada, and Nevada State College in Henderson. Southern Nevada, which is the state's largest college and has often complained of being underfunded, would get about $7 million more.

The plan calls for a 1 percent cut, or $1.3 million, at the University of Nevada, Reno. But three Northern Nevada community colleges would see considerably less money.

Western Nevada College would receive $10.5 million, compared with $15 million.

Great Basin would receive $9.5 million, down from $14 million in 2011-12.

Truckee Meadows Community College would get $27.7 million, down from $30.6 million.

Regents are recommending the state come up with an additional $5 million, one-time contribution to soften the blow to the community colleges.

The lone dissenting vote, Regent Ron Knecht, had a problem with giving more money to courses that have greater raw costs. He argued that the funding formula should also factor in a course's "social value," the newspaper reported.

The proposal is still in its early stages, according to Nevada System of Higher Education spokesman John Kuhlman. A legislative committee must pick a funding formula, implement it, and fund it.


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