LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s largest public college must now make do without a federal grant worth nearly $2 million.
The College of Southern Nevada is no longer receiving funding after U.S. Labor Department officials complained the school was not following allocation rules. The college is also returning $84,000 it received from the Labor Department since October 2014.
The $1.7 million grant was a slice of a nearly $10 million 2014 Labor Department grant awarded to several community colleges in Nevada. The grant was to go toward increasing services for enrolled military veterans seeking to enter the workforce. Now, the College of Southern Nevada’s share will be divided among three community colleges in northern Nevada that had also made a grant request, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/29jm8So).
The college used the funding to hire three advisers for veterans. The advising stopped in May after federal Labor Department officials said the grant wasn’t being applied toward new programs or activities.
Hyla Winters, interim vice president of academic affairs, said the grant money would have supported a program where academic advisers “work with those veteran populations in those programs of study to get them through to completion.”
“We made the tough decision that we didn’t want to incur any more additional expenditures at the risk of not being able to get the (Department of Labor) to sign off on a revised work plan,” Winters said.
Labor Department officials did not respond to multiple requests from the newspaper for comment.
Faculty and administrators say the college is already struggling with major budget cuts. They also argue that the grant highlights how that while the College of Southern Nevada is the biggest school, it gets fewer resources than schools in northern Nevada.
David Damore, a political science professor, has long been a critic of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Community colleges depend more on federal grants than limited local resources.
“It’s just a shame that all this money is going to go to northern Nevada,” Damore said. “Grants come with lots of strings attached to them — it’s not just money to move around without satisfying conditions.”
Frank Woodbeck, who leads a coalition of the three northern Nevada community colleges, contends economic equity among higher education institutions has improved. He credits a funding formula that was revised in 2013 to balance funding among Nevada’s schools in the north and south.
“The fact is, as we move forward, we are making tremendous progress,” Woodbeck said. “Can we do better going forward? Sure we can.”
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com