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Regents approve additional 5% NSHE budget reduction

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approved another 5% budget reduction proposal Friday, June 12, bringing the reduction proposal through fiscal year 2021 to nearly 20%.

Gov. Steve Sisolak had asked for budget reduction plans from all state agencies, including NSHE. The budget reduction for NSHE totaled $160 million for the two-year period, $27 million in 2020 and $132 million in 2021.

The extra 5% reduction will come from NSHE institution operating reserves.

NSHE and the regents have emphasized mitigating financial impacts to low-income students and avoiding layoffs along with a “shared sacrifice” model when considering budget reductions.

The previous 14% proposal, approved by the regents in April, included a 4.6% reduction in pay or 12 furlough days for NSHE academic and administrative faculty. NSHE also used federal funding as well as savings from not filling vacant positions, enacting a hiring freeze, repurposing capital funds, reducing operating costs and other contracts as part of the reduction proposal.

There will also be a system-wide temporary per credit surcharge. The charge will be $6 per credit for undergraduates and $8 per credit for graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At Nevada State College, the surcharge will be $5 per credit for all students. For College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College, the surcharge will be $3 per credit.

The surcharge was calculated in proportion to current student fees at NSHE institutions.

Chancellor Thom Reilly emphasized that NSHE’s institutions have been on the front line of helping the state battle the pandemic.

“From the beginning, our students, faculty and staff have been out in front helping combat the COVID-19 pandemic by helping conduct tests, performing urgent research, collecting data and sharing valuable personal protective equipment with medical workers and first responders,” Reilly said. “NSHE will now lead the way in training and staffing the emerging field of contact tracing.”

The chancellor and the Council of Presidents, in consultation with faculty and student leadership, put together the budget reduction scenarios that aim to protect NSHE’s ability to deliver on its higher education mission. The proposals were presented to the Board of Regents at an emergency teleconference meeting April 10.

“I’m proud of our students, faculty and staff as they help Nevada in any way that they can,” Board of Regents Chair Jason Geddes said. “The reductions will be difficult to manage, and I hope all Nevadans recognize NSHE’s contributions to the COVID-19 fight.”

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