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November 28, 2014

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Regents OK student tuition hikes, employee pay cuts

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AP Photo/Cathleen Allison

Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, testifies Monday, June 6, 2011, at the Legislature in Carson City as lawmakers wrap up their 120-day Legislative session.

The Nevada Board of Regents on Friday approved raising student tuition and slashing employee pay to address an $85 million state budget cut to higher education in the next biennium.

Undergraduate students will pay a one-time tuition and fee increase of 13 percent next year, although university system Chancellor Dan Klaich said he plans to re-evaluate the increase for undergraduate students after the first year. Graduate students face a 5 percent tuition increase in each of the next two years.

The fee increases would affect students at all institutions, except for professional schools, Klaich said. Registration fees for undergraduates at UNLV would increase about 10 percent to $157 per credit. For graduate students, the registration fee will be maintained at $240 per credit.

The vote on the tuition and fee increase was unanimous. At UNLV, these tuition increases would save it about $3 million, according to President Neal Smatresk’s budget proposal from his June 8 town-hall meeting.

State employees in higher education will see a permanent 2.5 percent pay cut and a nonpermanent 2.3 percent salary reduction from six furlough days next year.

Grant-funded employees, such as those at the Desert Research Institute, clinical staff at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, part-time employees and graduate assistants will be exempt from the pay cut.

Furloughs will be across the board, Klaich said. If an employee cannot take the six-day furlough, his salary will be cut by 4.8 percent.

The vote on the pay cuts was unanimous, with Regent William Cobb abstaining. At UNLV, this cost-cutting measure would save it about $2 million, according to Smatresk’s budget proposal.

The cost-cutting measures were part of Klaich’s four-point plan supported by the Legislature. There are three stakeholders in the plan: students, universities and the state. Under the plan, students would pay more for higher education in exchange for universities receiving an equal infusion of state funds.

The Nevada System of Higher Education’s $472 million operating budget still took a 15 percent cut, but the plan saved the system from going to 2003 budget levels, Klaich said. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s original budget recommendation called for cuts of up to 29 percent.

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