Dear CSN Family,
Now that the 81st session of the Nevada State Legislature has concluded, I wanted to update you on how CSN and higher education in general did in several key areas.
On May 15, the State Legislature approved approximately $93 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) dollars to help the Nevada System of Higher Education hire back or fill frozen positions. This reduced NSHE’s total projected budget cuts from the anticipated $169 million to $76 million. This is good news for CSN, but unfortunately, this still means that we have an operating budget cut of approximately eight percent in FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23. Additionally, these ARP funds are not a permanent restoration.
Lawmakers also passed a one percent cost-of-living increase for FY 2022-23 for all state employees (AB493). Professional employees will see the increase on their August 1, 2022 paychecks. Classified staff get an additional two percent if covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Classified employees will see the increase on their July 25, 2022 paychecks.
Despite the state’s overall budget cuts that resulted from COVID-19, CSN had a very successful 2021 legislative session. A summary of some of our legislative priorities are included below:
- General Fund appropriations for Caseload Growth of $12 million for CSN for the next biennium (FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23). The Governor’s recommended budget utilized the FY 2020-21 calculated weighted student credit hour value of $164.61 in the caseload calculation, consistent with prior biennia calculations. These funds will support CSN’s additional caseload growth of 36,555 with enhancements to direct instruction, academic support, and areas of compliance and accreditation.
- CSN received $10.4 million of Capacity Enhancement funds for the next biennium from the State General Fund. These funds will support CSN’s expansion of health sciences, advanced manufacturing, cyber security and dual enrollment programs. Capacity funds will also help the development of short-term training programs and weekend college options for high-demand fields with a focus on unemployed and displaced workers.
- The Nevada Promise Scholarship Program was also continued, with $7.3 million in new funding for the biennium for all NSHE community colleges. CSN received almost 5,000 Promise applications for this upcoming academic year, which marks a five percent increase from last year (AB454).
- NSHE received $897,000 from the State General Fund for the continuation of the NSHE Prison Education Program for the biennium. CSN’s allocated portion of the funding for the biennium is $300,000.
- AB319 requires CSN to continue to partner with the Clark County School District to establish the CSN-CTE Concurrent Enrollment Pilot Program, which will allow students to earn up to 15 college credits. The pilot program will focus on expanding dual enrollment opportunities to underserved populations, low income students, students who might need to get college-ready for math and English, and students who are interested in pursuing a career in a high demand industry.
- The Nevada System of Higher Education received an appropriation of $400,000 over the biennium to enable CSN to continue to carry out the Nevada Grow Program. This program stimulates Nevada’s economy by helping Nevada small businesses (SB310).
- The Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada (WINN) Account was allocated $1.5 million for FY 2021-22. WINN funds require the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to develop and implement programs to provide customized workforce development services to companies that create, expand and relocate business to the state (AB494). CSN is eligible to apply for some of these funds.
- The Nevada Millennium Scholarship Trust Fund was allocated $42 million to support the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship Program. At CSN, the Millennium Scholarship funds approximately 5,000 students annually (AB475).
- The Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG) Program received an allocation of $8.8 million for the biennium. Additionally, AB495 allocates $600,000 each year of the biennium to the SSOG Program.
Even in a COVID-19 environment, CSN successfully carried out its first (and hopefully last) virtual CSN Day at the Legislature, which included premiering a video with testimonial support for our legislative priorities from Governor Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron D. Ford, Superintendent Jesus J. Jara, and Senate Education Chairman Senator Moises “Mo” Denis, among other state leaders.
I especially want to thank all the administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders who worked together as a team to ensure that CSN’s voice was heard during this legislative session.