LAS VEGAS – The Nevada Board of Regents approved the final version of a $1.5 billion operating budget request for Nevada’s public higher education institutions on Friday.
The 2019 to 2021 Biennial NSHE Operating Budget and Supplemental Request includes funding for UNLV’s new School of Medicine, addresses faculty salaries, and creates a state-wide summer school initiative to address business and industry workforce needs.
The budget request that will be sent to Gov. Sandoval included $142 million in Capital Improvement Projects and $120 million enhancement requests.
“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.” NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly said.
The summer school initiative remains an important part of the budget. Currently, NSHE institutions are only funded via the state funding formula for nursing classes during the summer. This impacts the number of classes available to enable students in other programs to graduate on time or complete certificate programs.
The current funding model was limited because most students at NSHE institutions don’t take the summer off anymore. Students are going to school year-round and this expansion will accelerate student completion.
Board of Regents Chair Kevin J. Page said the state-wide summer school initiative is a direct result of the strong partnership between NSHE institutions and the business and industry community.
“This initiative reflects the changing times and economy of the state and addresses Nevada’s need for STEM-trained and highly skilled workers,” Page said.
The budget request also includes $14.3 million for UNLV’s School of Medicine, to ramp up its staffing levels to full capacity, as envisioned in the original plan. This would bring the public investment in the medical school to more than $70 million so far.
And $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/Nevada State College’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.
And topping off the supplemental budget address faculty salary compression, when faculty salaries fall out of sync with those of newly hired faculty.
The supplemental budget request will be submitted by the Chancellor and Board of Regents Chair to the Governor’s office in case additional funding is identified for higher education during the 2019 Legislative Session.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Nevada Board of Regents.