Committee: College students will continue to pay surcharge | NevadaAppeal.com
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Committee: College students will continue to pay surcharge

The Interim Finance Committee voted Thursday to extend the surcharge fees imposed on students at Western Nevada College, University of Nevada Reno and three other campuses.

The amount added per credit at the University of Nevada Reno is $5. The amount is $2.75 at Great Basin College, Western Nevada College, College of Southern Nevada and Truckee Meadows College.

The per-credit surcharges were ordered by the Board of Regents to help offset budget reductions mandated by the state. But Executive Vice Chancellor Dan Klaich said they are set to expire in the fall of 2009 unless the Legislature authorizes their extension.

In response to questions from the committee, Klaich said if the system is required to cut budgets by 14 percent for the next biennium, “the nature of all the institutions within the system will be dramatically changed.”

He said as the chancellor and board of regents plan for the next budget cycle, higher student tuition and fees will have to be considered.

“We understand that tuition in this difficult situation is most likely going to be a part of any solution,” he said.

Assemblyman John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain, asked what the impact on enrollment would be.

“I can’t imagine it would help enrollment,” said Klaich. “Students like all other consumers are sensitive to enrollment increases.”

Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Reno, said she was worried about minority students being hit hardest by cost hikes.

“If we raise tuition and raise the gradepoint for entry, it’s a double whammy,” she said, referring to the new requirement students have a 3.0 average or better to attend UNR.

“You’re exactly right,” said Klaich. “And it’s not a double whammy. I think it’s a triple whammy because we are also unable to provide the necessary amount of financial aid. With respect to financial aid provided to low-income households we are lowest in the nation.”

Klaich said he hopes those surcharges can be eliminated when the Legislature approves the next biennial budget.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.