University serves notice student fees may rise to meet campus needs
University students will likely have to pay a bigger share of campus budgets in the future, acting University System Chancellor Tom Anderes told lawmakers Tuesday.
“I think we have to look more closely at the non-general fund portion – at the student fees,” he said.
Anderes made the comments during a hearing of a legislative group looking at funding formulas for Nevada’s two universities and five community colleges.
“In the future, the amount of funding we’re going to require will go far beyond what the state general fund can support,” he said.
“I’m trying to suggest that what we in higher education have to look at more closely is what is the relationship between what the student is paying to support the operating budget compared to what the state is putting in,” he said.
Total budget for Nevada’s higher-education system is $840 million over two years. Students are charged $71.50 per credit at the universities and $41 per credit at community colleges.
Anderes said lawmakers and the governor’s office have made it clear the state can’t afford to put a higher percentage of its revenue into the university system.
“We in higher education have got to identify other fund sources outside the state general fund,” he said.
That, Anderes said, is student fees, investment income and the estate tax as well as donation money. The biggest piece on that list by far is student fees.
Yet Anderes pointed out that students in Nevada pay a lower percentage of their education costs than those in other states. Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, agreed.
“I think the last time we looked at it in the (legislative) session, it was clear that the students in this state are getting a bargain,” he said.
Anderes agreed, saying the university system has tried to keep student fees and tuition as low as possible to ensure access for all those who want to attend but that the demand for money to support programs beyond what the state can afford may change.
Both men referred to a study showing the university of Nevada system charges among the West’s lowest rates for classes both among resident and non-resident students.