Legislature grants UVU more than $21 million

Legislature grants UVU more than $21 million

Graphic by Trevor Robertson

As a result of the 2014 legislative session, UVU has been granted $21 million in outgoing funding due to new budget priorities from the Utah System of Higher Education. The university will receive an additional $1.7 million to go toward employee compensation and healthcare, along with nearly $1 million to enhance distinctive mission initiatives.

This year, the USHE pushed to have state funding raised to bring all institutions to a $4,800 per student floor. This initiative was designed to bridge the gap between large student populations and state tax appropriations. UVU will receive the largest percentage of the $50 million allocated to the USHE in acute equity funding.

“For years, we have argued that UVU receives a substantially lower amount of tax funding per student than other state and national institutions of similar size and mission,” Holland said. “For perspective, this is slightly more than the total of all new tax funds the legislature has granted UVU in the last eight years combined.”

The USHE includes all of Utah’s public institutions including the University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State University, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College.

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All institutions receive state equity funding, but the new budget appraisal allows for a more equal distribution of funds. Institutions with a low ratio of state funding per student are allocated more money to accommodate student population growth.

The acute equity funding will support the expansion of the university as Holland discussed in the 2014 state of the university address. The funds will be used to improve programs and student support, increase the student-to-advisor ratio and gain more faculty members.

Increasing faculty compensation was a main objective during this year’s session, as USHE institutions were granted a 1.25 percent faculty compensation increase. UVU’s second legislative session priority was to be competitive in the global talent market and retain faculty members who can best train productive students.

According to an independent study commissioned by the USHE in 2013, UVU received a ‘disproportionally low’ amount of state funding when compared to similar institutions. Consequentially, students had to pay for a higher portion of their education as tuition and fees increased.

In the annual ‘Truth in Tuition’ hearing last month, Holland noted that if state legislature grants the university more funding, it would be ‘ill-advised’ to increase second-tier tuition. Tuition and fees are contingent with state funding, so the large amount of equity received means students shouldn’t expect a large tuition hike this year.

“Without a funding mechanism for growth in higher education, this funding will be game changing for an institution that has experienced so much recent growth and is charged with being a point of educational access as the state continues to work toward its goals for 2020,” Holland said.

This new method of distributing funds will ensure students and faculty have the resources they need while keeping tuition low. Holland will discuss the acute equity funds at his annual spring budget presentation, “Hoagies with Holland” on April 17in the Grande Ballroom.

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