University of Utah Priorities, Legislative Session 2018 (FY 2019)
The 2018 general legislative session ends March 8. Here are this session's top priorities for U advocates:
Bonding request 2018
OUR ASK: The U needs to bond to increase undergraduate housing on campus. Numerous statistics support the benefits of on-campus housing: Universities achieve much better graduation rates, students get better grades when they live on campus, etc. The U would like to add about 1,000 beds. The state building board is prioritizing the request. The full project will be funded by a mix of bonding, donor gifts, and food vendor income; no state funds. The new housing is proposed for the old Annex area by the Huntsman Center.
Funding requests 2018
OUR ASK: A 3% performance-based compensation increase for state higher-ed faculty/staff retention and recruitment, plus coverage for the increased cost of health care benefits for employees. To remain among the top Research I higher-ed institutions, we need to get and keep high performers. This is a USHE-wide priority.
OUR ASK: "Workforce alignment" funds—part of educating students for the right jobs. This year, the big emphasis for the U is nursing (a huge need). The state higher education request is for $4.5 million. (About $2 million would go toward the U.) It has been at least seven years since the last nursing-related request. Also a USHE-wide priority.
OUR ASK: Securing promised Health Sciences funding. In 2017, the legislature approved and structured the allocation of funds to replace and rebuild the U’s aging medical school—$50 million over a three-year period. The first year, the U received $5 million, which allowed planning and construction to begin. This year, the U anticipates $25 million, and in 2019, the final $20 million allocation.
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