Nevada’s university capacity growth funding cut in half |

Nevada’s university capacity growth funding cut in half

A legislative subcommittee voted on Tuesday to cut in half the funding the university system sought to increase capacity system wide and support workforce development.

The system requested $40.7 million for capacity growth at the two universities and five colleges plus the Desert Research Institute. But Ways and Means Chairman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, called on members of the joint Senate Finance Ways and Means subcommittee to eliminate the $20.9 million of that amount that would have gone to UNR and UNLV in the coming biennium.

She said she would support the total $19.75 million in capacity funding for Nevada State College and the system’s community colleges.

“I look at those institutions as our gateway into higher education,” she said.

NSC and the community colleges have made Career and Technical Education programs from skilled trades to nursing their primary focus.

Western Nevada College would get $1.24 million to support expansion of the Jump Start program providing high school students with college classes and expansion of the Fallon nursing program.

Great Basin College in Elko would get $1.49 million, TMCC $3.95 million and College of Southern Nevada $11 million over the biennium. Nevada State College would receive $2.54 million and DRI $1.5 million in capacity building money.

Eliminated were the $11.8 million requested for UNLV and the $9.1 million for UNR.

In addition, the subcommittee voted to put all capacity funding into a separate budget account and direct the different colleges to treat it as one-time funding. It ruled if NSHE wants to continue that funding in the 2021-2023 budget cycle, it has to request it as an enhancement.

The subcommittee also agreed to continue the “small institution funding” for Western Nevada and Great Basin colleges. That money is designed to recognize all institutions have fixed administrative costs but small institutions don’t have sufficient fee revenues to cover those costs and need extra support. Western will receive $822,960 in the coming biennium while Great Basin will get $1.42 million.

The decisions were part of a morning-long review and action on a long list of Nevada System of Higher Education budgets.

NSHE is asking for a total two-year budget of $2.15 billion. That includes $1.4 million in General Fund cash, $724 million in student fee and tuition revenue and $10.5 million in federal and other revenue.

The total is $250.7 million and 13.2 percent higher than NSHE’s current budget.

The full committees will meet Friday to consider the subcommittee recommendations.