It might feel as though the budget cuts UVU suffered recently have not had much of an impact on your education, mainly because the changes have been subtle. So subtle in fact, you may not have noticed Spring classes filling up faster.
According to a presentation President Holland gave to the State Board of Regents at a special meeting held on Nov. 13 there are 4,000 more registrations for Spring 2010 compared to this time last year. That’s not to say there are 4,000 more students, simply that students understand classes aren’t as easy to get into as they once were, so they register sooner.
While still experiencing near record enrollment growth, the university has seen the opposite in regards to funding. Last year the legislature cut Utah’s higher education budget by 17percent, but due to the Feds they were able to only cut 9 percent. Now 9 percent or even 17 percent may not appear to be a lot, but if you break it down and line up ten classes or professors, you realize you’re going to start losing valuable resources to educate students.
Prior to the cuts, Utah was spending around $8,000 per student per year, compared to the national average of $11,500. If the Utah legislature continues with their 17 percent cuts and after average growth of enrollment the state will be spending under $6,000 per student per year. That is a major decrease in the quality of education students will be receiving from a “state funded” school and according to the information provided by President Holland, UVU may no longer be considered state-funded, but should be deemed state-assisted.
Already the school has been unable to increase class sections that are experiencing heavy loads. Some are even operating beyond capacity and most are around 90 percent capacity according to graphs presented to the Board of Regents. Facing the continued growth already mentioned, UVU will have to find a way to educate the many potential students looming in the distance. It seems that the school wont be far behind USU who had to let go of 160 faculty and staff members with the “meager” 9% cut.
UVU was forced to cut 65 salaried positions, restructure multiple organizations, as well as suffer a $12 million budget decrease between the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
Fortunately for the university and all higher education institutions funded by the state, the Board of Regents is on our side. Prior to the meeting they had drafted a proposal outlining various ways to increase funding. During this meeting the document was ratified and will be given to the state legislature for consideration as a plan to stop any further cuts.