LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In response to the economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents approved a budget reduction proposal, as requested by Governor Steve Sisolak.

The Office of the Governor has asked for budget reduction proposals from all state agencies, including NSHE, that show a 4% cut in the fiscal year 2020, and a 6%, 10%, and 14 % reduction in the fiscal year 2021.

This budget proposal includes hiring freezes, administrative furloughs, temporary per credit surcharges and contract adjustments. Each proposal emphasized mitigating financial impacts on low-income students and avoiding layoffs.

The budget reduction for NSHE totaled $124.7 million for the two-year period, $27 million in 2020 and $97 million in 2021.

Chancellor Thom Reilly said that similar to the economic slowdown during the Great Recession or 2007 -2009, NSHE has turned to a “shared sacrifice” model when considering this budget reduction.

The weeks and months ahead will be a difficult burden for all of us to shoulder, however, if we share this burden the individual sacrifice can be lessened.

Chancellor Thom Reilly, NSHE

The chancellor and the Council of Presidents in consultation with faculty and student leadership put together budget reduction scenarios that aim to protect NSHE’s ability to deliver on its higher education mission.

The proposals were presented to the Board of Regents at an emergency teleconference meeting on Friday, April 10.

NSHE used approximately $60 million from the federal legislation known as the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or ‘‘CARES Act” to first meet the gap in the budget reduction.

NSHE then used savings from not filling vacant positions, enacting a hiring freeze, repurposing capital funds, reducing operating costs and other contracts as part of the reduction proposal.

If we did not apply furloughs and the temporary per credit surcharge, we could be facing hundreds of layoffs which would adversely affect student services and student success.

Chancellor Thom Reilly, NSHE

To help make ends meet, NSHE focused on furloughs for administrative faculty and professional staff, classified employees fall under the purview of the Nevada Legislature beginning July 1, 2020.

  • Under the 10% reduction proposal, administrative faculty and professional staff would have a 2.3% reduction in pay or 6 furlough days.
  • Under the 14% reduction proposal, administrative faculty and professional staff would have a 4.6% reduction in pay or 12 furlough days.

Lastly, NSHE proposed a temporary per credit surcharge to be assigned as follows:

Universities (UNLV and UNR)

Undergraduate – $6, or 2.5%
Graduate – $8, or 2.7%

Nevada State College

  • Undergraduate – $5, or 2.9%
  • Graduate – $5, or 2.1%

College of Southern Nevada

  • $3, or 2.8% lower-division
  • 1.7% upper-division

Great Basin College

  • $3, or 2.8% lower-division
  • 1.7% upper-division

Truckee Meadows Community College

  • $3, or 2.8% lower-division
  • 1.7% upper-division

Western Nevada College

  • $3, or 2.8% lower-division
  • 1.7% upper-division

The percentages above are based on NSHE’s registration fee rates published in the Procedures and Guidelines Manual, Chapter 7, Section 1.

The surcharge was calculated in proportion to current student fees at NSHE’s institutions.

Regents Chair Jason Geddes said, “By enacting these budget adjustments across the entire system, we will be able to use the CARES Act funds and Student Access fees to minimize the impact on low-income students and keep our institutions focused on student success.”

These are difficult decisions to make, but together we can emerge from this economic downturn stronger than ever.

Chancellor Thom Reilly, NSHE

The proposed budget cut will next be sent to be reviewed by the Office of the Governor.

The NSHE System Administration and the Board of Regents will continue to work with the Office of Gov. Sisolak and all county, state, and federal health officials regarding COVID-19.