The Utah State Board of Regents adopted the unified budget request and prioritized the state-funded capital facilities requests of the Utah System of Higher Education during its meeting today at Utah State University in Logan in preparation for the 2017 legislative session.
“These operating budget request reflects the most urgent needs of USHE institutions as well as the Regents’ strategic objectives of Affordable Participation, Timely Completion and Innovative Discovery. State funding of this request, to the best of the legislature’s ability, is essential in keeping tuition at USHE institutions among the lowest in the nation,” said Dave Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education. “The Board of Regents also had the difficult task of prioritizing USHE capital facilities requests, as this year was full of many significant projects. I appreciate the work of Regents and Presidents as we pursue these key priorities with the Governor and legislative leaders.”
A primary objective of the USHE budget request is to minimize the reliance on tuition increases to fund operations and growth at Utah’s public colleges and universities. In order to keep tuition as low as possible, the Board of Regents approved a 7.5% increase in state tax fund support for the USHE operating budget request, which consists of:
- 3% Merit-based Compensation Increase – $32,878,200
USHE’s top priority is to have the resources to provide fair and competitive compensation for its employees (faculty and staff).
- New Student Growth – $4,117,400
These funds will be used to increase capacity for teaching and support services associated with growing student need and demand. Some initiatives include: expanding bottleneck/high demand courses in general education; hiring additional student services staff in academic advising, financial aid, and mental health counseling; developing prevention programs for sexual violence; and enhancing information technology.
- Market Demand – $19,453,400
These funds will support critical market demands, including the development and enhancement of key programs as well as advising, counseling, IT, and other operational needs. Some initiatives include: faculty for programs in high-demand STEM fields and general education; expanded summer semester offerings, project-based learning, and student research opportunities; and increased services to help students complete programs needed by Utah employers.
- Performance Funding – $9,979,000
Under the provisions of SB 232, institutions may receive new funds for outcomes in: degrees and certificates granted; services provided to traditionally underserved populations; responsiveness to workforce needs; institutional (graduation) efficiency; and graduate research (for research universities). Some initiatives include: student support for underserved populations, mental health services, peer mentoring and retention services for high-risk students; and financial assistance and scholarships for need-based students.
In addition to the operating budget request for USHE institutions outlined above, USHE is requesting $11,205,800 to fully fund the Regents’ Scholarship.
More information about the budget request can be found here.