$1.5 billion budget OK’d for Nevada higher education
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Board of Regents approved the final piece of its $1.5 billion operating budget request for Nevada’s public higher education institutions on July 20, a return to funding levels not seen since 2008-2009.
The 2019 to 2021 Biennial NSHE Operating Budget and Supplemental Request includes funding for a statewide summer school initiative to address STEM business and industry workforce needs, UNLV’s new School of Medicine, and faculty salaries.
The budget request that will be sent to Gov. Sandoval pending final approval by the Regents in August includes $142 million in Capital Improvement Projects and $120 million in enhancement requests. This budget marks the return to 2008-2009 funding levels.
“The importance of this proposed budget for our students and faculty cannot be understated,” NSHE Chancellor Dr. Thom Reilly said. “As a statewide system, we are finally getting back to pre-Great Recession funding levels when adjusted for inflation, which we can use to improve student success and completion rates throughout Nevada.”
An important piece of the budget is the summer school initiative, which was sought by presidents of Nevada’s higher education institutions. Under the current funding formula, the Legislature funds summer school only for nursing programs. This initiative would expand funding for STEM and workforce related courses during the summer, which would enable students in STEM fields to graduate on time.
The budget request also includes $14.3 million for UNLV’s School of Medicine.
Additionally, $142 million was allocated in the request for capital improvements, including construction of Nevada State College’s new education building, the College of Southern Nevada’s new health and sciences building, and a new UNLV engineering building. Planning funding was also requested for seven other construction projects at NSHE institutions across the state.
Meanwhile, a second pilot program was requested in the operating budget, which is designed to enhance faculty salaries based on performance.
Topping off the supplemental budget, the request addresses faculty salary compression, when faculty salaries fall out of sync with those of newly hired faculty. Faculty salaries have seen little change since the 2008-2009 budget.
The supplemental budget allows the Chancellor and Board of Regents Chair to submit requests to the Governor’s office if additional funding is identified for higher education during the 2019 Legislative Session.
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