Las Vegas Sun

December 10, 2016

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Chancellor: University tuition would have to go up 73 percent to cover Sandoval budget gap

Chancellor Dan Klaich

Chancellor Dan Klaich

Brian Sandoval

Brian Sandoval

Sun Coverage

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget that cuts funding for universities and community colleges could result in massive layoffs and limit enrollment, the chancellor of the system says.

To fill the gap left by a $163 million reduction in state support would take a 73 percent increase in student tuition, said Chancellor Dan Klaich of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Klaich told legislative budget committees Thursday that it was “reasonable” to expect student fees to increase to fill some of the hole but not 73 percent.

Asked about raising taxes to support the system, Klaich said, “I’m not sure the people don’t want taxes to increase education.” He said one poll showed two-thirds support taxes for education.

Sandoval’s budget would result in a cut of 17.66 percent, counting the loss of state money and one-time stimulus dollars.

He said the board of regents should have the authority to raise student fees more in line with other western states to cover some of the loss.

The university says student fees at UNLV amount to $5,689, based on 30 credit hours, compared with the average for western states at $6,213. The fees at the College of Southern Nevada are $2,243 based on 30 credit hours and compares to $2,783 in other similar states.

The governor’s budget, as analyzed by the university, would mean layoffs of 1,850 professional and classified staff without additional funds.

The chancellor said many students cannot afford to pay more, and Nevada is already 49th in the nation in college participation for students from low-income families.

Asked what taxes should be increased to fill the state’s $1.5 billion shortfall, Klaich said that was the job of the Legislature to determine.

But, he said, Nevada is operating in the 21st century with a 20th century tax code, nothing that few changes have been made since 1955. “People want a good education and I believe they will pay for it,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said he disagrees with the cuts in Sandoval’s proposed budget.

“I don’t understand how we will get better results with these cuts. Something is going to have to be sacrificed,” he said.

The presentation was made to the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways Committee in advance of the Feb. 7 opening of the Legislature.

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