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February 03, 2010 3:32 PM Nevada’s Looming Higher Education Crisis

By Daniel Luzer

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There’s an update to the budget problems facing public colleges in Nevada. According to Nevada Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich if the Legislature applies budget cuts across the Nevada state government, the system won’t have enough money to operate next year. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

[Klaich]told the system’s governing Board of Regents the state is facing the worst economic shortfall in anyone’s memory, nearly $1 billion. This will mean either massive cuts to every aspect of government, or woefully unpopular tax increases. Or both.
If the Legislature applies the cuts equally across state government, it will likely mean budgets will be reduced by 22 percent for the rest of this fiscal year and the next one.

A 22 percent budget cut would come out to about $110 million.

Klaich explained several ways higher ed could save $110 million, all of them very unpleasant. One way the state could save the money would be by eliminating come colleges altogether. Nevada could shut down Nevada State College and the College of Southern Nevada. Or the state could ax Close Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Desert Research Institute. Under that scenario Nevada would also have to close many professional schools at the state’s flagship college, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

If the state wants to address budget cuts without closing schools, the chancellor pointed out that there was another option: 48 percent tuition and fee increases.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer