Jockeying Begins Over Higher Ed Funding

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Jockeying Begins Over Higher Ed Funding



A graphic shows the diminishing value of the Millennium Scholarship over time, due to rising costs of attending Nevada's universities.

Speaking to a joint committee on education, Nevada Chancellor Dan Klaich delivered a very simple message to senators and assembly members about the Governor Guinn millennium scholarship.

Klaich: "Don't do anything, please don't do anything."

While he'd like to see more money put into the scholarship to make it as valuable as it used to be, the chancellor said given the state of the economy, it's best to move forward with the Governor's plan.

His proposed budget gives the scholarship a $10 million infusion and directs unclaimed property money into the fund going forward.

As for the colleges the scholarship would be used for, that's another matter. Chancellor Klaich said Governor Sandoval's budget would do massive damage.

Klaich: "Institutions will shrink. Some may disappear."

But Republican Senator Barbara Cegavske criticized the higher education system, which operates independently of the rest of state government, saying the system isn't doing its part to share in the budget pain.

Cegavske: "You were asked to make cuts, but what you did is you brought us an increased budget. You're really good at asking for money. You guys are really good at that (chuckles) but what we need now is help, and we need you to be a partner with the state and we need to look at where we can make improvements and make reform. I mean, drastic reform."

Klaich said the system is working on reforms, but also that colleges and universities will need to be healthy to launch Nevada's economy into its next phase.

Klaich: "I don't understand how we can be a full partner in the diversification and the revitalization of this state while cutting our budget by that amount, I just don't get it."

The legislature is still at the early stage of examining budgets, the nitty gritty details aren't likely to emerge until much later in the session.