Las Vegas Sun

August 21, 2019

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Study finds smaller funding gap between UNR, UNLV

RENO, Nev. - The spending gap between Nevada's two largest universities is about $534 per student, not the $3,000 some critics at UNLV had claimed, private consultants told the State Board of Regents today.

The equity funding study recommends the Nevada Legislature spend about $24 million more a year to erase spending gaps at UNLV, the Community College of Southern Nevada, Western Nevada Community College and Truckee Meadows Community College.

The biggest share should go to CCSN, about $15 million, according to the consultant, MGT of America, based in Tallahassee, Florida.

UNLV should get $7.6 million, TMCC $722,700 and WNCC $447,600, the study said.

The University of Nevada, Reno, has many unique and costly missions that justify expenditures per student beyond those at UNLV, including the medical school, larger doctoral programs and more senior staff, the report said.

"While those who have been concerned about the per student funding difference between UNR and UNLV may find this finding a surprise, the analysis indicates that UNR and UNLV, in fact, are equitably funded when taking into account UNR's larger proportion of graduate and high cost programs," the study concluded.

"At the same time, however, the narrowing of the gap between UNR and UNLV over time indicates that UNLV's instructional funding is not keeping pace with enrollment growth and its changing instructional cost structure as it moves from a comprehensive to a doctoral institution," it said.

The presidents of both universities said they were pleased with the findings.

"We had calculated an amount that was slightly under $500 for UNLV. This is slightly over $500, so it seems like a reasonable figure," UNR President Joseph Crowley told The Associated Press during a break at the meeting today at Truckee Meadows Community College.

"We calculated there would be a case for a relatively slight inequity adjustment. They were talking about $3,000 per student. This says $534," he said.

UNLV President Carol Harter said she was "disappointed our number isn't somewhat higher.

"The overall conclusion that the two southern institutions need $22 million exactly reinforces what we have been saying all along," she told AP.

"I'm feeling positive. We can certainly benefit by having better funding in terms of our aspirations as a university. This is the beginning of that."