Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Hope reigns at higher education town hall

At a town hall meeting at UNLV today, university officials expressed hope that the school would not have to cut much more from its budget than it has already cut this biennium.

The university has already left 364 jobs vacant, including about 100 tenure- or tenure-track faculty positions.

UNLV President David Ashley said for the state to get about $150 million in federal stimulus funds for higher education, Nevada would have to come up with about $265 million more for higher education than the governor proposed in his budget.

Ashley said that would leave the higher education system with about 8 1/2 percent less state funding per year in the next biennium than the amount the Legislature approved for the school in fiscal 2009.

"If those stars align," Ashley said, "we know how to do that." UNLV has already cut about 8 percent this fiscal year from its legislatively approved budget.

A big caveat, however, is the fact that the governor today sent a request to the federal government to waive the requirement that Nevada increase higher education funding in order to qualify for the education stimulus funds.

At the town hall meeting, higher education officials also mentioned that Nevada's three members of the U.S. House of Representatives had written to the U.S. Secretary of Education to express support for the waiver. The March 13 letter signed by Dina Titus, Shelley Berkley and Dean Heller is here.

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