December 10, 2007

Western facing serious cutbacks

Impact Of Proposed Budget Cut On Western Nevada College

A proposed 8% percent state budget cut for Western Nevada College would be disastrous to the college, severely diminishing the ability to meet its mission of providing higher education to residents of seven counties in Western Nevada: Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing and Storey.

To date, operating budgets have been cut across the college. Vacant faculty and staff positions are being left unfilled, library acquisitions eliminated, and training/staff development curtailed.

According to WNC President Carol Lucey, "The college is willing to shoulder its share of the burden regarding the state budget crisis. But we are being asked to shoulder more than our share."

To reach the proposed 8% cut over the 2007-2009 budget biennium, the college would be forced to close many of its rural community teaching centers, as well as its Douglas campus and High Tech Center in Carson City.

This would include:

  • Closing the Douglas campus in Minden that serves some 700 students per semester
  • Closing teaching centers in Fernley, Hawthorne, Lovelock and Yerington that serve hundreds of local residents each semester
  • Abandoning the Jim Randolph High Tech Center in Carson City
  • Further reducing operating budgets
  • Continuing to do without key positions in academics, counseling, student tutoring, fund-raising, computing services, and other areas.

The college is limited in how it can cut by the fact that 94% of state dollars/82% of all funding goes to personnel costs. Another 5% covers utilities, leaving very little unallocated funding to work with.

Impacts on WNC students if the 8% cost becomes a reality:

  1. Closure of all sites except the Carson City and Fallon campuses would leave many students with long commutes (some nearly 100 miles one way), very high transportation/fuel costs, much longer time commitments and safety risks for travel.
  2. Fewer class sections to choose from and some classes unavailable at all, as the number of instructors is diminished.
  3. Fewer counselors and tutors on campus to assist students in planning their schedules and getting the services they need to succeed.
  4. Fewer staff to visit to high schools in western Nevada to acquaint students with college opportunities and help them meet with college advisors/apply for financial assistance.

Impacts on rural communities and state if the 8% cost becomes a reality

  1. In many of the small communities served by Western Nevada College, the college provides the only real access to higher education for their residents. The cost will be great to those communities and their young people who rely on Western Nevada College as the avenue to a college degree and career opportunities. This will lead to fewer students being able to go to college, and fewer completing degrees.
  2. Ultimately, rural Nevada communities and businesses will face the prospect of fewer educated citizens and trained workers, contributing to challenges in building and maintaining a viable work force. The cuts could likely make smaller communities less attractive to business and stymie economic development efforts for years to come.
  3. Fewer partnership programs such as the Nevada State College teacher education degree, and the registered nursing program rural component, which have both been successfully providing critically needed skilled health care and education professionals in rural communities of Western Nevada.
  4. The college will be forced into a mode that will set it back more than a decade in terms of serving Nevadans with higher education and contributing significantly to critical workforce education needs.
  5. The state of Nevada will likely fall to the bottom in the nation in its support of higher education and commitment to resources leading to students completing college degrees and certificates.

TO HELP:

CONTACT LAWMAKERS AND GOV. JIM GIBBONS BY E-MAIL:

GOV. JIM GIBBONS: tburke@gov.nv.gov

Senators

Click here for a list of all senators and their contact information.

Assembly Members

Click here for a list of all assembly members and their contact information.

For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198
E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu


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