Proposal Takes Money From the North, Sends it South

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
University of Nevada Reno

University of Nevada Reno

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Southern Nevada colleges and universities would gain and northern Nevada institutions would lose under a new funding formula proposed by Chancellor Dan Klaich.

The proposal calls for allocating $13 million more per year to southern institutions and $13 million less per year to northern colleges, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Klaich said he thinks the $13 million in losses to the University of Nevada, Reno and three northern community colleges is small enough that it can be "reasonably dealt with" through mitigation measures.

The proposed funding formula would change the way state general funds are distributed to higher education for classroom instruction by allowing each institution to keep tuition and fees collected there, and by rewarding growth in graduation rates instead of growth in enrollment.

The current formula has been criticized by some southern Nevada officials for sending half of all the state's higher education funding to northern institutions despite the fact nearly three-fourths of students are in southern Nevada.

While saying the proposal is not perfect, University of Nevada, Las Vegas President Neal Smatresk praised it as a giant step in the right direction. UNLV would gain about $3 million a year in funding, slightly more than a 1 percent increase when general fund dollars are counted along with tuition and fees.

"This formula is clearly a major improvement on the last formula," Smatresk told the Review-Journal. "It goes a long way toward creating equity for the colleges and universities. It is a solid proposal for the system of higher education, and it's a solid proposal for giving incentives in the future."

The University of Nevada, Reno, would see a $1.2 million cut in funding, a decrease of less than 1 percent.

Also in the north, Western Nevada and Great Basin community colleges would see drops in funding of 26 percent and 31 percent respectively, while Truckee Meadows Community College would see a 6 percent drop.

"Clearly, mitigation has to be involved," Klaich said. "Those institutions could not take cuts of that magnitude and continue to service their communities."

The College of Southern Nevada, by far the state's largest institution, would gain $7 million per year, up nearly 5 percent. Nevada State College would gain $3 million, an increase of more than 15 percent.

The proposal was sent Friday to the Board of Regents and a legislative committee for review.

"Our hopes are we can begin a discussion on how no institution takes a cut. That will be part of the whole political discussion," Klaich told the Gazette-Journal.

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