2015 Legislative Update – Week 3

2015-16 Budget – Performance Funding

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee discussed performance funding for the Utah System of Higher Education in several of its meetings. Key components of a basic framework have been identified, and legislation is anticipated to specify performance funding as a category in future USHE budget requests. If funding is provided implementation may begin as soon as July 2015.

Postsecondary performance funding strategies have emerged as a core component of college completion strategies. A new report was published this past week on postsecondary performance funding strategies across the country. In Utah, the State Board of Regents adopted a completion strategy in July 2013 focused on improving student success. Since then, performance funding has been funded with one-time funds by the Legislature as initial steps to a more sustained performance-focused funding model in higher education funding.

Subcommittee Budget Prioritization

In its final meeting, the subcommittee ultimately prioritized all components of the Board of Regents’ 2015-16 Budget Priorities, slightly modifying the priority order as well as restoring the 2% base budget reduction as the top priority:

  1. Restore 2% cut ($16,115,000)
  2. Compensation – Performance Pay ($23,159,100)
  3. Compensation – Health Insurance ($5,135,000)
  4. Research and Graduate Programs ($10,000,000)
  5. Performance Based Funding ($5,000,000)
  6. Mission Based Funding – Distinctive Mission ($15,000,000)
  7. Regents’ Scholarship ($3,000,000)
  8. Mission Based Funding – Student Participation ($15,000,000)
  9. Cyber Security ($2,100,000)

The Chairs of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee are expected to present the priorities to the Executive Appropriations Committee this week. Audio recordings and materials, including presentations from the institutions, for all Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meetings are online. To access materials for a specific meeting, click “View List” on the right column under “Meeting Materials.”

Capital Budget

The Infrastructure and General Government Subcommittee prioritized requests for capital development. The following capital development priorities of the Board of Regents were prioritized by the Subcommittee in the following order:

  • Snow College – New Science Building (1st)
  • University of Utah – Crocker Science Center (6th)
  • Utah State University – Clinical Services Building (10th)
  • Dixie State University – Physical Education/Wellness Center (12th)
  • Salt Lake Community College – CTE Learning Resource & Classroom (13th)
  • Utah State University – Biological Sciences Building (14th)

 Key Legislation of Interest to USHE

  • HB 123, Tuition and Fees Assistance for Utah National Guard Members* by Rep. Val Peterson, expands the allowable tuition assistance for a Utah National Guard member to include fees. The bill was passed unanimously by the House and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.
  • HB 198, Strengthening College and Career Readiness* by Rep. Patrice Arent, creates the Strengthening College and Career Readiness Program to improve students’ college and career readiness through enhancing the skill level of school counselors for college and career counseling. The bill directs the State Board of Education, in collaboration with the State Board of Regents, to develop a certificate for school counselors for providing college and career counseling. The bill was passed by the House Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.
  • SB 64 (1st Substitute), Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments* by Sen. Todd Weiler, modifies tax credit provisions related to the Utah Educational Savings Plan to allow for a portion of an individual income tax refund to be contributed to a qualifying Utah Educational Savings Plan. The bill also makes technical and conforming changes. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate and awaits further consideration by the House.
  • SB 65, In-state Tuition for Families of Fallen Public Safety Officers Amendments by Sen. Curt Bramble, modifies current statute providing tuition waivers for a surviving family member of a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty to include fees and eliminates considerations of financial need of potential waiver recipients. The bill has been passed by the Senate and is awaiting further consideration by the House.

* USHE has taken an official position in support. ** USHE has taken an official position in opposition. For more information on legislation, committee agendas, or to view or listen to floor debates, see:http://le.utah.gov/

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director