Southern Nevada universities and colleges are getting the short end of the stick, according to a new higher education funding analysis.
In what could be considered the starting push for a greater share of higher education public funding, UNLV’s Lincy Institute released a report this morning criticizing state government for giving a bigger piece of the pie to the University of Nevada, Reno and other northern schools.
Authored by David Damore, the study — “Held Harmless: Higher education funding and the 77th session of the Nevada Legislature — showed that while legislators in 2013 adopted a new funding formula for Nevada’s seven higher education institutions, the disparity in funding between the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and UNR remains in place.
The new formula does bring state-designated funding for the two universities closer together, but doesn’t factor in non-formula appropriations, said Damore, a political scientist and Brookings Institution nonresident fellow.
UNR annually receives more than $50 million in non-formula appropriations, which support its medical school, athletics, agricultural, health and other programs. UNLV’s non-formula funding is about $24 million annually.
The formula funding also shows a disparity in other northern and southern schools. Damore said Great Basin College, Western Nevada College and Truckee Meadows Community College all get more public money than the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College.
Damore’s report also found that the Nevada Higher System of Education’s non-formula funding is more than several institutions it oversees, including the Desert Research Institute and Nevada State College.
And that’s not all, Damore said.
“Perhaps the biggest inequity facing the southern institutions is the dearth of space for instruction and research activities as compared to the northern campuses,” Damore wrote.
UNR currently has 394,000 square feet of teaching and research capacity than UNLV, Damore found. And because UNLV’s student population is far greater than its northern neighbor, achieving true equality in teaching and research space would mean that UNLV needs an additional 1.8 million square feet of building space.
Damore’s report also noted that UNR has a medical school and UNLV does not, though UNLV officials are hoping for $27 million in state funding to get their proposed medical school off the ground.
Contact Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-224-5512. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe