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  • 21 May 2024 5:30 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    At their May 23, 2024, meeting, the Nevada Board of Regents will consider a resolution to delegate their authority in litigation matters to the Chancellor. While Nevada laws permit such delegation, and several public bodies have adopted similar resolutions delegating litigation decisions to executive leadership, this proposal gives the Chancellor and the NSHE Chief General Counsel blanket authority over litigation decisions with little, if any, oversight by the Board. It only requires the Chancellor to consult with the Board Chair. There is no mandate that the two must agree. Similarly, there is no requirement to keep the other members of the Board informed. Alarmingly, the resolution states that the Chancellor would have the authority to make any decision “consistent with the advice of the Chief General Counsel.” That is, it appears to delegate real authority to the Chief General Counsel, not the Chancellor. 

    There is no argument that delegation is often necessary. Nevada’s Open Meeting Law makes it untenable for Regents to confer as a body on all litigation within the deadlines set by courts. Previously, the Board delegated this authority to the Chair who was charged with seeking approval from the Chancellor and the General Counsel. The new proposal, generally, reverses those roles, delegating authority to make litigation decisions “to the Chancellor, after consultation with the Board Chair and consistent with the advice of the Chief General Counsel.”

    As presented, this resolution would apply to all litigation, including lawsuits initiated by NSHE on behalf of the Board, not just those where NSHE is a defendant.

    The NFA recommends that Regents amend the resolution to authorize delegation ONLY when time does not allow consideration by the full Board. It should also require that the Board Chair approve decisions by the Chancellor, not just be consulted, and that the full Board be informed once a decision has been made. The Board Chair should retain the right to seek additional legal counsel and not rely solely on the advice of the NSHE Chief General Counsel. If the Board Chair disagrees with a decision of the Chancellor pertaining to litigation, the matter should automatically go before the full Board. Furthermore, NSHE should not initiate any legal action without consideration by the full Board of Regents. 

    Regents have the fiduciary responsibility for the Nevada System of Higher Education. A blanket delegation of authority over litigation abdicates a significant portion of that responsibility. It should not happen. Once established, the delegation of authority would be difficult to reverse. Consider the consequences of the worst possible Chancellor and General Counsel, not the current ones, having authority over litigation under any possible circumstances effectively without Board oversight.

  • 20 May 2024 11:22 AM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Reimagining the Formula: A Win-Win for Students and Institutions, not Winners and Losers

    Part 6 in a series analyzing proposals being considered by the NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding. These articles delve into various proposals the Committee will consider on May 30 and finalize on July 25. The NFA has issued a set of fundamental Principles for Funding Higher Education.

    The recommendations here from the Nevada Faculty Alliance are presented in good faith as ways to improve the funding formula and meet achievable goals. We appreciate the Committee’s difficult task and hard work. Our shared concerns are in serving students across the state, especially those in underserved areas. 

    One of our actionable solutions begins with analyzing the current NSHE funding formula. Because it is only a distribution formula an institution can meet all of its performance goals and still experience a budget decrease because other institutions had larger enrollment growth. Any new formula that merely redistributes existing funds will produce winners and losers and fail for Nevada’s students. 

    Chair Hardesty and Vice Chair Charleton have emphasized the Committee’s charge is to develop a new formula without new funding. Committee members have advocated for additional funds to fairly implement formula changes. As shown in Part 3, including summer course credits in the Weighted Student Credit Hour (WSCH) formula without additional funds would result in significant budget cuts for five of the seven institutions. 

    Reimagining the Formula as a Funding Formula

    Budgets for the seven NSHE colleges and universities are currently developed through the state budget process, starting with the base-year budget and making various maintenance adjustments including caseload. At the end of the process, the total appropriation for the seven institutions is redistributed according to their WSCHs. That is backward and it leads to constant competition among the colleges and universities.

    A true funding formula would determine the cost of providing higher education per WSCH (or other chosen metrics), then budget that amount multiplied by the WSCHs. The existing dollar value per WSCH should be adjusted for inflation according to the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). Then that value multiplied by each institution’s WSCHs would be the institution's new base budget. The detailed budget (including cost-of-living adjustments) for each institution would be developed with the formula funding totals. Using WSCHs as the starting point for budgeting would prevent a redistribution or competition between institutions.

    If the state provides insufficient funds to fully fund the formula, the only alternative is to reduce the appropriation per WSCH across the board by the same percentage and then raise student fees or cut services to compensate. That’s the reality regardless of which formula is established.

    In case another sudden drop in enrollment were to occur, as happened during the pandemic, the best of the past two years of the WSCHs should be used to provide time for recovery or adjustment. (A three-year average has been proposed, but that still counts even and odd years differently with a biennial budget and increases the lag between count and budget years.) Ideally, projected enrollments would be used, but further study would be needed to find a feasible and accurate projection method.

    Funding Student Services

    In Part 4, we recommended shifting funding for existing student services expenditures from the WSCH to a headcount to reflect the costs of providing student services beyond the classroom. To implement that in a revenue-neutral way, each institution’s current student services expenditures would be carved out of their WSCH allocation (8% overall but varying from 5% to 14%). The total amount would then be redistributed according to the average of fall and spring student headcounts, resulting in an initial minor funding shift. For future budgets, the total student service funding would be divided by the total headcounts to obtain the dollar value per headcount. That value would be increased by HEPI inflation to set the budget based on each institution’s new headcount.

    Funding Enhancements

    The Committee cannot appropriate funds, but it can recommend additional changes in the formula be contingent upon full funding. These should include:

    • Adding all summer course credits to the WSCH formula, with an appropriation to cover the full cost. Unintended consequences of including summer credits without additional funding are discussed in Part 3. If all summer school courses convert to regular WSCH funding in the state-supported operating budget, then UNR’s and UNLV’s academic departments must receive equivalent funding levels to support their research missions.

    • Enhancing the headcount formula to fund additional wrap-around services for at-risk and underserved students, counting them at 1.25 to 1.30, with an appropriation to cover the full cost. The categories of at-risk students should include Pell-grant recipients, underrepresented and first-generation students, English-language learners, and students needing disability accommodations. Details can be found in Part 4.

    • An adjustment to the weighting in the WSCH formula for Nursing and possibly other critical needs. Again, weight enhancements must be fully funded to avoid robbing one institution to pay another. The Committee should also recommend a regular procedure to update the level and discipline weights in the WSCHs. They should be revised every four to six years to keep up with changes in the cost of instruction and the state’s critical economic areas.

    Without full funding for these enhancements, smaller institutions would face severe budget cuts because existing funds would be redistributed to larger institutions. Recommending formula enhancements contingent upon funding would provide a path to future budget requests.

    Inflation Adjustments

    NSHE already has a policy to raise student registration fees according to HEPI, and state funding should keep up. A funding formula that is not adjusted for inflation results in cuts that prevent our ability to serve students and compensate faculty and staff fairly and competitively. The HEPI by Commonfund is a reasonable national measure of inflation in the higher education sector. For each biennial budget, the WSCHs or headcounts should be adjusted for the most recent two years of HEPI inflation.

    Indexing the WSCH dollar value for inflation is not a major change from actual practice. For all the biennial budget requests and supposed enhancements since the current formula was established, the following figure shows that the appropriation per WSCH adjusted for inflation has been mostly flat since 2014, except for the decline after the pandemic from which we haven't not fully recovered.

    If (and only if) the formula funding for NSHE is indexed for inflation, then the mechanism for funding COLAs for NSHE employees could be reconsidered for the formula-funded NSHE budgets. COLAs in line with the HEPI could be accommodated within the formula. Catch-up increases for competitive compensation require additional state funding, however.

    Outcomes-Based Funding

    We recommend eliminating the current performance pool as a carve-out from base funding. Any outcomes-based funding should be additions to the base budgets. Our recommended enhancement to the headcount formula for at-risk and underserved students provides outcomes-based funding, applied to about 8% of the budget (versus the 20% carve-out in the current performance pool). Institutions that recruit and retain those students would receive a funding boost based on their headcounts but without competing against other institutions for a fixed allocation or being threatened with a reduced budget for not meeting targets, as with the current performance pool. Headcount values could also include student-centric performance metrics for retention, progression, and completion. If a larger percentage of the formula is allocated to headcounts to enhance student support services (such as disability resources or mental health), it should be phased in with hold-harmless funding.

    Other performance could be rewarded in a similar manner. For example, WSCH values could receive a bonus for efficiency measured by the number of degrees and certificates awarded per credit hour; that would prevent a reduction in funding if an institution graduates its students more quickly. All outcomes incentives must be additional funds that do not make institutions compete or put base funding at risk. No performance funding should risk base funding using metrics that track the total number of students, directly or indirectly. The WSCHs and headcounts already account for enrollment. Instead, institutions should be rewarded for increasing efficiency or reaching a higher proportion of a target population.


    For full transparency and to promote trust between NSHE and the Legislature, all institutional reporting of formula factors (e.g., WSCHs and headcounts) should be audited regularly.  The formula should incentivize services to students, not creative accounting.


    Data are sourced from public records and reports. We welcome questions and welcome corrections from authoritative sources.

    NFA Series on NSHE Funding Formula

    Updated 5/20/2024 11:30 a.m. Edited for clarity.

  • 19 May 2024 4:21 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    A Separate Formula for the Community Colleges using Headcounts Could Decimate the Rural Colleges

    Part 5 in a series analyzing proposals being considered by the NSHECommittee on Higher Education Funding. These articles delve into various proposals the Committee will consider on May 30 and finalize on July 25. The NFA has issued a set of fundamentalPrinciples for Funding Higher Education

    Several presidents and members of the Committee have recommended establishing separate formulas for different institution types to account for their different missions and student demographics. HCM Strategists, the Committee’s consultant, has advised against that, stating that there are too few institutions for multiple formulas to be practical and that the Weighted Student Credit Hours (WSCHs) formula can provide sufficient differentiation by mission.

    A simple two-formula system has been suggested to maintain the WSCH formula funding for the three universities but switch the four community colleges to a headcount formula. Table 1 shows how that system would affect the community colleges. With no additional funding or hold-harmless provisions, CSN’s budget would increase by 8%, but the other three colleges would have their funding reduced by 4% for TMCC, 9% for GBC, and 33% for WNC. The smaller and rural community colleges would be significantly harmed. Such a change should not be contemplated, at least not without long-term hold-harmless funding for the smaller institutions. 

    As recommended in part 4, a less radical and more practical solution would be to shift funding for Student Services expenses, about 8% of the budget overall, to a headcount formula but keep the student credit hour formula to fund instruction and related academic support.  A credit-hour formula, weighted or not, more accurately represents the costs of instruction than do headcounts, but student support costs are better correlated with headcounts.

    Table 1. Comparison of WSCH and headcount formulas for CSN, GBC, TMCC, & WNC 



    Share of WSCH

    Formula Appropriation (millions)

    Funding Per WSCH


    Share of Headcount

    Headcount Formula Funding (millions)

    Funding Per Head

    Change (millions)

    Change (%)
























































    Sources: NSHE and LCB public reports. WSCH and Unduplicated Resident Headcount for the 2021-2022 count year. Formula appropriation is from the General Fund for FY2024 before COLAs and enrollment recovery funding.


    Data are sourced from NSHE public records and reports. We welcome questions and welcome corrections from authoritative sources.

    NFA Series on NSHE Funding Formula

  • 19 May 2024 3:02 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Funding Student Support Services Based on Headcounts

    Part 4 in a series analyzing proposals being considered by the NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding. These articles delve into various proposals the Committee will consider on May 30 and finalize on July 25. The NFA has issued a set of fundamental Principles for Funding Higher Education

    A valid criticism of the current funding-distribution formula, which allocates state appropriations using resident Weighted Student Credit Hours (WSCHs), is that it does not account for students from diverse backgrounds and part-time students needing wrap-around services. Several of the presidents have proposed using headcounts instead of WSCHs to distribute funding. HCM Strategists, the committee’s consultant, recommend using headcounts for only a portion of the formula.

    In part 2, we showed that a complete switch from WSCHs to a headcount distribution formula would have disastrous consequences for multiple institutions. In this article, we analyze cost estimates for student services based on advisor-to-student ratios and recommend that funding for student service expenditures be tied to a student headcount measure.

    Achieving a 350-to-1 Advisor-to-Student Ratio

    NSHE's service standard for student services is one academic advisor or counselor per 350 students. Table 1 provides a cost estimate for funding that many advisors system-wide. 

    Table 1. Estimated cost of academic advisors and counselors

    Total Student Headcount (Fall 2023)


    Advisors at 350-to-1 students-to-advisor 


    Compensation per advisor ($56K average salary + 35% fringe + 11% FY2025 COLA)


    Total Cost


    The total cost of about $25.7 million represents 2.7% of the total budgets of the seven NSHE colleges and universities.

    Enhancement for At-Risk and Students: Closing the Achievement Gap

    Another goal is to enhance funding for services to at-risk students, including underrepresented minorities (URM), Pell Grant recipients, first-generation students, English-language learners, and students needing disability accommodations. NSHE data indicate 63% of students or 67,000 are historically minoritized and 32000 are Pell-grant recipients (data for the other categories are not readily available). The calculations in Table 2 show a cost of about $18.5 million overall to provide additional advisors or other program staff to support these students at the same 350-to-1 ratio as regular academic advisors.

    Table 2. Estimated cost for additional support personnel for at-risk and underrepresented students (at a 350-to-1 student-to-staff ratio)

    Student Services Expenditures

    Funding advisors and support personnel is only a portion of student services. We can examine current expenditures attributed to Student Services for the colleges and universities. The NSHE Operating Budgets classify expenditures using standardized functional categories. Table 3 shows percentage expenditures for the NSHE colleges and universities for 2021-2022. The overall expenditure for Student Services is 8.0% of the budget, varying from 5% for UNR to 14% for NSU. Student Services include not only academic advising, but a wide range of services and programs beyond classroom instruction including information technology.

    Table 3. 2021-2022 Expenditures by Functional Categories

    A correlation analysis (Table 4 in footnote) shows that institutional expenditures for Instruction, Academic Support, and Operations & Maintenance are most highly correlated with Weighted Student Credit Hours. In contrast, expenditures for Student Services are most highly correlated with Total Fall Headcounts. Thus, the institutions are already allocating resources to serve students outside of the classroom in proportion to headcounts. The left side of Figure 1 shows that institutions are spending similar amounts on Student Services per student ($644 overall).  The right side shows, in contrast, that the two comprehensive universities spend a much smaller portion of their budgets (5 to 6%) on Student Services than do NSU and the community colleges (11 to 14%).  

    Figure 1. Student Services Expenditures by Institution 

    As discussed in Part 2 of this series, a complete switch for the distribution formula from Weighted Student Credit Hours to headcounts would result in huge disruptions of funding. However, distribution by headcounts for up to the current 8% of expenditures for Student Services would be reasonable and would account for a variety of support services and technology infrastructure.  


    NFA recommends that Student Services expenditures (approximately 8% of the formula-funded budgets overall) be carved out from the resident WSCH distribution formula individually for each institution and that those amounts be distributed using an average of Fall and Spring resident headcounts. In future budgets, these headcount allocations should be updated through caseload maintenance items in the state budget process, plus an adjustment inflation. Because current Student Services expenditures are highly correlated with headcounts, this change would not cause a major disruption in funding, but it would allow for growth in services to students based on headcounts rather than student credit hours, accounting for part-time students who predominate at the community colleges.

    Additionally, the headcounts should be enhanced for underrepresented minority, Pell recipients, and other identifiable at-risk or underserved students (without double counting individual students) by a factor sufficient to fund an additional counselor or other program officer per 350 of those students (roughly 0.25 to 0.30).  Because the current formula does not account for these students in any way, this funding should be implemented as a enhancement.  Once funded and implemented, the enhancement of headcounts for at-risk students acts as a performance factor–recruiting and retaining those students would boost future funding. 

    NFA also recommends that all reporting by the institutions of student credit hours, headcounts, and other factors that go into the funding formula should be audited regularly. The formula should provide incentives to serve students, not incentives for creative accounting.


    Data are sourced from NSHE public records and reports. We welcome questions and welcome corrections from authoritative sources.


    Table 4. Correlation Analysis of 2021-2022 Institutional Expenditures in Major Functional Categories

    NFA Series on NSHE Funding Formula

  • 16 May 2024 2:16 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Unintended Consequences of Including Summer Courses in the WSCH Formula

    Part 3 in a series analyzing proposals being considered by the NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding. These articles delve into various proposals the Committee will consider on May 30 and finalize on July 25. The NFA has issued a set of fundamental Principles for Funding Higher Education

    Summer Course Credits

    Summer school courses have traditionally been funded by student fees, not the state. But over the years certain summer courses have been brought into the current funding-distribution formula based on resident Weighted Student Credit Hours (WSCHs). Nursing courses, science prerequisites for nursing, and teacher preparation courses were introduced as enhancements with appropriations for state-supported summer courses.

    The CSN, GBC, NSU, and WNC presidents have proposed that summer courses be funded through the WSCH formula (Item #21 in Institutional Formula Recommendations). Their reasons include reducing the time to graduation by expanding summer course offerings and funding student support during the summer. 

    HCM Strategists, the consultants NSHE retained for the Committee, recommend adding summer courses to the WSCH formula with or without new funding. Although we support the general policy that the state fund all courses helping students earn their degree or certificate, bringing summer credits into the WSCH formula without additional funding would have dire consequences.

    Budget Cuts for Rural Community Colleges 

    Non-state-funded summer credits range from 1% of WSCHs for GBC to 14% for NSU. As seen in Figure 1, HCM estimates that, with full funding, including all summer courses in the WSCH funding-distribution formula would cost an estimated $48 million. HCM describes “minor shifts” in current funding if summer credit hours are counted in the WSCH formula without additional funding.

    Figure 1. Summary of including summer WSCH in the formula (HCM, p. 23).HCM table and commentary from

    However, HCM’s characterization of the budget effects as minor does not survive scrutiny. Table 1 examines the consequences for each institution’s funding.[1]  A 5% to 6% decrease in funding at GBC and WNC is hardly a “minor shift.” Neither are funding cuts of 2% to 3% for NSU, UNR, and TMCC. NFA believes that any change must be fully funded.

    Table 1. Summer WSCH without additional funding.


    Percentage Change in Share of Total WSCH (Systemwide)

    Change in Total   WSCH Funding 

    Percentage Change in Total WSCH Funding

































    Other Consequences

    The discussion of summer course funding has not addressed how various institutions use summer school revenue. Although community colleges appear to collect the revenue centrally, UNLV and UNR rebate a portion to academic departments as an incentive to offer courses. Units and departments use this revenue for faculty development, conference travel for faculty and graduate students, research support, and emergencies. If summer courses are brought into state-supported operating budgets without funding, many of UNR’s and UNLV’s academic departments will face yet another budget crisis. Also, each university will risk support for research that contributes to R1 status. 

    In addition, faculty workloads will be required to support expanded summer course offerings. Given the difficulty of recruiting and retaining instructors, adding summer loads will be a big lift for some institutions and programs. Departments and units may have to compensate by proportionally reducing course loads for B-contract faculty during fall and spring semesters, which could lead to students finding reduced course offerings. 


    As previously stated by NFA, a new formula that merely redistributes available funding will be a failure. If summer WSCHs are added to the distribution formula, they must be fully funded as an added appropriation at HCM’s estimated cost of $48 million per year.


    [1] We cannot reproduce HCM’s percentages in Figure 1 using available public records, but the consequences using their percentages would be similar to those in Table 1. Our full calculations are available for review; corrections from authoritative sources are welcome.


    We welcome feedback from faculty, especially department chairs, administrative faculty, and classified staff who manage state-supported budgets. Contacts: Kent Ervin (, Doug Unger (, Jim New (, and Staci Walters (

    Data are sourced from NSHE public records and reports. We welcome questions and corrections.

    NFA Series on NSHE Funding Formula

  • 14 May 2024 9:46 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Nevada Faculty Alliance Announces Endorsements for the Board of Regents

    The NFA Political Action Committee has vetted candidates for the Board of Regents office in the 2024 Primary Election through questionnaires, interviews, and other research. The NFA-PAC endorses candidates who share our values and who support higher education as a common good, college and university affordability, academic freedom, and faculty rights including collective bargaining.

    The NFA-PAC is pleased to announce endorsements for Carlos David Fernandez (Regent Distrist 1), Carol Del Carlo (Regent District 9), and Amy Carvalho (Regent District 12). Additional candidate information is linked in the table below.

    Regent District NFA Endorsed Candidate Candidate Information
    District 1 - northern Clark County

    Carlos David Fernandez

    Candidate Questionnaire

    Candidate Forum

    Candidate Website

    District 4 – northeastern Clark County No endorsement for the primary election.  Candidate questionnaires and forum
    District 9 – Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Storey and southern Washoe Counties

    Carol Del Carlo (incumbent)

    Candidate Questionnaire

    Candidate Forum

    Candidate Website

    District 12 – southeastern Clark County  Amy Carvalho (incumbent)

    Candidate Questionnaire

    Candidate Forum

    Candidate Website


    The Nevada Faculty Alliance ( is an affiliate of the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers/AFl-CIO. Our mission is to advance academic freedom, enhance shared governance, and promote the economic security of professional employees at the colleges and universities of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The NFA works to empower our members to be fully engaged in our mission to help students succeed.

    The NFA Political Action Committee, which is comprised of NFA members in northern and southern Nevada, is proud to make these political endorsements. We will be encouraging the winning candidates to fight with us to improve higher education in Nevada. 

  • 14 May 2024 5:56 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Reslicing the Higher Education Funding Pie: Winners and Losers

    Part 2 in a series analyzing proposals being considered by the NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding. These articles delve into various proposals the Committee will consider on May 30 and finalize on July 25. The NFA has issued a set of fundamental Principles for the Funding of Higher Education. 

    The ad hoc NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding has been tasked with evaluating other states’ higher education funding models to support their NSHE-similar institutions. These models are to be compared to Nevada’s current model, including allocation and institutional costs to deliver instruction. The committee will then determine whether other funding-allocation methods would be appropriate for NSHE. The Nevada Faculty Alliance has stated to the committee that a new formula will be a failure if it merely redistributes the existing funding without new resources. 

    Impact of Formula Changes

    The total funding per student at Nevada’s public colleges and universities is third-from-bottom among all states. It can be simultaneously true that certain institutions–for example, Nevada community colleges–are disadvantaged by the current formula and that all institutions are underfunded. Presidents will naturally recommend formulas that favor their own institutions, but the Committee must balance students’ different needs and resources and recommend an equitable funding formula.

    The current formula distributes funding to the seven NSHE colleges and universities in proportion to resident Weighted Student Credit Hours (WSCH). A change from the resident WSCH to a different formula could result in a major disruption to funding. For example, as the following data will show, changing from WSCH to “unduplicated resident headcounts” in 2021–2022 would have decreased UNLV’s state appropriation by $55 million (−29%) and increased CSN’s by $69 million (+74%), out of a total $500 million appropriated to all seven institutions. 

    NFA maintains that any additions to the formula (e.g., including summer school courses in the WSCHs) must be fully funded. Any changes to the distribution formula must be implemented only with hold-harmless provisions for at least two biennia to allow institutions to adjust. Furthermore, different measures may be appropriate for a portion of the budget—for example, headcounts for non-instructional student support services—but not for the entire budget.

    Comparison of Different Formula-Distribution Metrics

    The following tables and charts show how different distribution formulas would affect the seven NSHE colleges and universities, using 2021–2022 data. Tables 1A and 1B show the state appropriations in percentages of the total and estimated percentage change after a shift from resident WSCHs. Tables 2A and 2B show the appropriations and changes in millions of dollars.

    Switching completely from WSCHs to other enrollment metrics for the funding distribution formula would benefit the community colleges and NSU, but without additional funding would require drastic budget cuts at UNLV and UNR, comparable to recent pandemic budget cuts.  Alternatively, different funding distribution formulas could be implemented for different institution types. Without additional funding, however, that could bake in disparities in the current formula.

    The first data column in Table 1A shows resident WSCH percentages, which is how the current formula distributes funding. That is compared to unweighted student-credit hours (same as average annual full-time-equivalent enrollment) in the second column. The weightings of courses by levels and discipline are intended to account for the different costs of instruction.

    The tables and Chart 1 compare three different headcount measures. Headcounts generally peak in the Fall semester. Total headcounts include out-of-state students; resident headcounts do not and are therefore lower. The “unduplicated resident headcount”, however, counts any individual student who has taken a state-supported course during the year. These can exceed the peak total headcounts because some students take courses sporadically. Because most of those students do not need year-round support, the unduplicated resident headcounts are a poor measure for the resources needed for student support services. We recommend the Fall headcounts, or an average of Fall and Spring, as more accurate for distributing funding for student services.

    Finally, maintained square footage is included in the tables and Chart 2 because a bill in the 2023 legislature would have shifted the formula to consider only building square footage on each campus.  Square footage has been mentioned in the funding committee discussions mainly in the context of fixed facility operations and utility costs.

    Conclusion and Future Analysis

    The current Weighted Student Credit Hour formula attempts to recognize the costs of offering courses to students at various levels in various disciplines. That’s appropriate for funding instructional staff and operations.  Student support services geared to individual students are better correlated with student headcounts, including part-time students. There are also fixed facility and administrative costs that depend weakly on student numbers. In later posts, we will analyze these various cost drivers and how they might equitably be incorporated into a new formula for appropriate portions of the budgets.

    Table 1A. NSHE Institutional Appropriation Percentages using Various Distribution Metrics

    Institution Resident Weighted Student Credit Hours Unweighted Resident Student Credit Hours Total Fall Headcount Resident Fall Headcount Unduplicated Resident Headcount Maintained Square Footage
    UNLV 37.9% 33.7% 28.8% 28.2% 27.0% 34.2%
    UNR 25.2% 20.6% 18.9% 16.7% 15.3% 37.7%
    NSU 5.8% 6.8% 6.8% 7.6% 7.6% 2.0%
    CSN 18.6% 24.7% 29.3% 30.8% 32.4% 14.7%
    GBC 2.7% 2.9% 3.3% 3.9% 3.2% 2.7%
    TMCC 6.7% 7.8% 9.3% 9.7% 10.4% 5.5%
    WNC 3.0% 3.4% 3.5% 3.1% 4.1% 3.1%

    Sources: NSHE public reports and records. Maintained square footage includes non-instructional space.

    Table 1B. Estimated Percentage Change in State Appropriation using Various Distribution Metrics

    Institution Resident Weighted Student Credit Hours Unweighted Resident Student Credit Hours Total Fall Headcount Resident Fall Headcount Unduplicated Resident Headcount Maintained Square Footage
    UNLV 0.0%


    -24.0% -25.7% -28.8% -9.8%
    UNR 0.0% -18.3% -25.0% -33.6% -39.3% +49.6%
    NSU 0.0% +17.2% 17.2% +31.3% 31.0% -65.5%
    CSN 0.0% +32.8% 57.5% 65.4% 74.2% -21.0%
    GBC 0.0% 7.4% 22.2% 43.7% 18.5% 0.0%
    TMCC 0.0% 16.4% 38.8% 45.5% 55.2% -17.9%
    WNC 0.0% 13.3% 16.7% 3.4% 36.7% 3.3%

    Table 2A. NSHE Institutional Appropriations using Various Distribution Metrics (Million $)

    Institution Resident Weighted Student Credit Hours Unweighted Resident Student Credit Hours Total Fall Headcount Resident Fall Headcount Unduplicated Resident Headcount Maintained Square Footage
    UNLV $189.5 $168.5 $144.0 $140.8 $135.0 $171.0
    UNR $126.0 $103.0 $94.5 $83.6 $76.5 $188.5
    NSU $29.0 $34.0 $34.0 $38.1 $38.0 $10.0
    CSN $93.0 $123.5 $146.5 $153.8 $162.0 $73.5
    GBC $13.5 $14.5 $16.5 $19.4 $16.0 $13.5
    TMCC $33.5 $39.0 $46.5 $48.7 $52.0 $27.5
    WNC $15.0 $17.0 $17.5 $15.5 $20.5 $15.5
    Sources: NSHE public reports and records. Assumes $500 million total appropriation.

    Table 2B. Estimated Changes in State Appropriation using Various Distribution Metrics (Million $)

    Institution Resident Weighted Student Credit Hours Unweighted Resident Student Credit Hours Total Fall Headcount Resident Fall Headcount Unduplicated Resident Headcount Maintained Square Footage
    UNLV $0.0 -$21.0 -$45.5 -$48.7 -$54.5 -$18.5
    UNR $0.0 -$23.0 -$31.5 -$42.4 -$49.5 $62.5
    NSU $0.0 $5.0 $5.0 $9.1 $9.0 -$19.0
    CSN $0.0 $30.5 $53.5 $60.8 $69.0 -$19.5
    GBC $0.0 $1.0 $3.0 $5.9 $2.5 $0.0
    TMCC $0.0 $5.5 $13.0 $15.2 $18.5 -$6.0
    WNC $0.0 $2.0 $2.5 $0.5 $5.5 $0.5

    Chart 1. Headcount numbers by institution and type

    Chart 2. Distribution Formulas by Institution for Various Measures


    Data are sourced from NSHE public records and reports. We welcome questions and welcome corrections from authoritative sources.  Contact:

    Update 5/17/2024:  Corrected values in Table 1B to be percentage change in institutional appropriation (rather than the difference in the percentage share of the total budget).

    NFA Series on NSHE Funding Formula

  • 14 May 2024 10:08 AM | Jim New (Administrator)

    There are four seats on the Board of Regents up for election in 2024. The primary election is on June 11 with early voting starting May 25. The primary will narrow the field to two candidates for each race going forward to the general election in November--unless one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in primary in which case that candidate is declared elected and there is no general election.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance Political Action Committee (NFA-PAC) sent a questionnaire exploring NSHE and faculty issues to each candidate's email address. Seven of the 13 candidates have responded. 

    The NFA-PAC is also conducting candidate forums that are open to all NFA members. Video recordings of the forums will be available for review once all candidates have responded to our request to participate. Candidate endorsements may be made by the NFA-PAC at the conclusion of the process. Only candidates who offer unqualified support for the principles of shared governance and collective bargaining rights will be considered for endorsement.

    District Questionnaire Responses Forum Video
    District 1 - northern Clark County Matthew Bowen
    Carlos David Fernandez
    Ida Zeiler
    April 30, 2024
    Matthew Bowen
    Carlos David Fernandez
    Ida Zeiler
    District 4 – northeastern Clark County Aaron Bautista
    Richard Andrew Carrillo
    Donald Sylvantee McMichael (incumbent)
    Shawn Stamper
    Tonia Holmes Sutton
    April 24, 2024
    Aaron Bautista
    Tonia Holmes Sutton
    District 9 – Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Storey and southern Washoe Counties Carol Del Carlo (incumbent)
    Bret Delaire
    Gary T Johnson
    May 13, 2024
    Carol Del Carlo
    District 12 – southeastern Clark County Amy Carvalho (incumbent)
    Jonathan Maxham
    April 29, 2024
    Amy Carvalho
    Jonathan Maxham
  • 08 May 2024 4:54 PM | State Board (Administrator)

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance is committed to working with all members of the UNR community to repair the damage to UNR's reputation from national attention and to work toward full EO/Title IX compliance and our shared emphasis on equity and inclusion. The NFA also calls for immediate action to support victims and survivors of abuse, discrimination, or power-based violence at UNR and strongly believes concrete action must be taken to protect those who are the most vulnerable.

    In light of the recent USA Today article, “Exclusive Records Show Nevada Athletics Ran Afoul of Title IX: Its Leaders Shrugged,” the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance reiterates its call for UNR to reform its Equal Opportunity/Title IX practices. As stated in our letters to the UNR administration in December 2022 and to NSHE leadership in October 2023, we have been gravely concerned about leadership's pattern—particularly under the guidance of Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel Mary Dugan—of protecting powerful individuals accused of EO/Title IX violations while suppressing cases brought forward by whistleblowers and individuals who have faced harassment and retaliatory behavior.

    Request for Accurate Historical Data

    Table 1 shows data eventually released after UNR refused, in 2022, to provide sexual misconduct data to USA Today. The data illustrate how very few of those found guilty in Title IX investigations from 2018 through 2021 were disciplined when Maria Doucetperry served as the Title IX coordinator. Of 19 formal investigations and 7 findings of fault, only one student was suspended and none expelled, a number that is extremely low in comparison to other schools. Furthermore, sanctions greatly declined in comparison to when the office was run by the previous Title IX coordinator, Denise Cordova.

    Table 1

    Question Year
    2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
    1. How many reports did your institution receive of a student accused of a Title IX offense? 39 62 36 85 66 25 8 5 326
    2. Of the number in Question 1, how many reports were informally resolved? 30 58 26 64 60 10 4 3 255
    3. Of the number in Question 1, how many formal investigations were opened? 9 4 10 8 7 11 0 1 50
    4. Of the number in Question 3, how many formal investigations resulted in a finding of responsibility against one or more students for a Title IX offense? 8 3 5 5 5 1 0 1 28
    5. Over the same time period, how many students found responsible in a formal investigation for a Title IX offense were expelled/dismissed/permanently separated from your institution? 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
    6. Over the same time period, how many students found responsible in a formal investigation for a Title IX offense were suspended/temporarily dismissed from your institution? 2 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 8

    An Opaque Process

    Although the NFA and faculty senators have been requesting similar data for faculty and staff since November 2022, UNR's administration has repeatedly refused to release historical data. This is in contrast to their new era of EO/Title IX transparency and a monthly dashboard of case statistics and a fully staffed office. A consultant's long-promised report on the operation of the EO/Title IX office has not been released to the university community.

    Despite public commitments to transparency, the NFA is regularly asked to assist complainants who are denied access to their investigative reports. As reported by USA Today, access to these documents is “a standard practice at other universities.” Furthermore, federal policy requires Title IX offices to “create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence and…send to each party and the party's advisor, if any…for their review and written response.” In the meantime, we urge all members of the UNR community to please reach out to NFA leadership if you have concerns about an EO/Title IX investigation or to let us know if you have been denied access to an investigative report, so that we can provide guidance on how to obtain it.

    Finally, USA Today reports that UNR paid Athletic Director Doug Knuth $308,000 to leave the university when his contract was not renewed, a payment UNR did not include in their annual NSHE buyouts report, which is submitted to the Board of Regents. Our previous statements have described and criticized the lack of transparency and completeness of the buyout reports. Without transparent and full reporting, Regents are not aware of issues so problematic that they necessitate being covered up through buyouts or settlements and therefore hold any responsible individuals accountable. Given Knuth’s reported behavior at UNR, a payout of such magnitude was fiscally and ethically irresponsible and creates mistrust in the university community. Although we applaud the administration for firing Doug Knuth for egregious Title IX violations, we again urge the administration to adhere to their new transparent processes.

    Creating a Culture of Accountability

    To create a culture of accountability and trust, we call on UNR’s leadership to do the following:

    • Follow federal law by creating and releasing investigative reports.
    • Release historical case data for faculty and staff so the UNR community can assess the administration’s progress and trust the process.
    • Establish public policies in line with federal guidance clearly showing the roles played by institutional administrators, general counsels, and HR managers in Title IX hearings and EO/Title IX office
    • Hold institutional administrators and other employees accountable for violating prohibitions when intervening in Title IX and other proceedings.

    We further call on the NSHE Board of Regents to require complete and transparent annual reporting from each NSHE institution. These reports should, at a minimum, include statistical data on student, faculty, and staffEO/Title IX investigations and outcomes as well as buyouts and settlements with employees or former employees and the amount of each.

  • 02 May 2024 2:16 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    UNR Budget and Enrollment Update

    This is an update to NFA’s eight-part series on the University of Nevada, Reno budget crisis published in January 2024. (Some of the original articles have been updated–most recently Part 3B. Growth of Executive Positions and Salaries). 

    Budget Shortfall for 2024–2025

    At the April 30 UNR Campus Conversation, Vice President for Administration and Finance Andrew Clinger reported the “good news” that the previously projected shortfall of $31.7 million for FY2025 has been reduced to about $12 million. The stated reasons for a lower shortfall were the three-month delay in faculty COLAs, the 5% increase in student registration fees and tuition, and an improved enrollment outlook. VP Clinger clarified that the FY2024 budget cuts would remain in place, including 108 faculty and staff positions being held vacant and 5% cuts to department budgets. The administration has told the Faculty Senate Budget & Planning Committee they found additional commitments to be budgeted. 

    The UNR budget is not out of the woods: it is deep in the forest. Previous administrations would have considered a $12 million budget hole to be a crisis. No information was provided about how the $12 million shortfall will be addressed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024, but it is equivalent to an additional 100+ faculty and staff positions being kept vacant or eliminated. The cumulative budget shortfalls of $25 million in FY2024 and $12 million in FY2025 represent over 10% of the state-allocated operating budgets at UNR.

    Enrollment Status

    UNR’s Spring 2024 FTE enrollment is up 5.5% overall from Spring 2023 and the headcount is up by 15.3%. However, that counts the huge growth in enrollment from non-degree seeking undergraduates (a 190% increase to 4,900 students), primarily high school students taking dual and concurrent enrollment classes. Concurrent enrollment fees are only $75 per course, compared with the $788 UNR undergraduates pay in registration fees for a three-credit course. Future credit for concurrent Weighted Student Credit Hours would apply to the budget in the next biennium. In the meantime, this program, part of the UNR instructional budget, requires UNR personnel, including pay for the high school instructors, coordinators for each subject, travel funds to visit high schools, and administrative oversight. 

    If we look at the enrollment of degree-seeking students, the headcount is down 1.3% from Spring 2022 to Spring 2023. At the most recent Campus Conversation, Provost Jeff Thompson reported that although new enrollment for Fall 2025 is down from this time a year ago, he did not have a percentage due to data-collection changes. In addition, continuing delays and errors in federal financial aid applications are impacting student recruitment and retention.

    Possible Real-Estate Deals with Long-Term Consequences

    At the April 30 Campus Conversation, President Sandoval talked about two potential real estate transactions, which were also announced at Faculty Senate meetings. First, the President is hoping to sell UNR land north of the Med School to the Department of Veterans Affairs as the site for a new VA hospital to replace the existing facility on Kirman Avenue. As reported to the faculty senate, the VA is considering the UNR location and one or two other potential sites to build the new hospital. Selling this land to the VA would rule out future northward growth for UNR and would displace lower-cost parking lots as well as several buildings. Proceeds from a land sale would be one-time money that could not be used for continuing budgets. Financial and other details of UNR’s offer to the VA were not disclosed.

    Second, UNR is considering buying 18 parcels with homes and apartments south of I-80 between Lake and Evans streets, north of Sixth Street. To be dubbed “University Village,” the 49 or so residential units would provide faculty and graduate students with much-needed affordable housing in Reno’s expensive market. While we appreciate helping faculty and graduate students with housing, the projected price is $6.5 million plus an estimated $825,000 for improvements. The down payment would come from UNR’s property acquisition fund, while the rest would be financed with a loan from UNR’s Operating Fund assets (account reserves held at NSHE) and paid back through rent revenue. 

    In another budget circumstance, we would applaud this decision. However, the long-term debt on this acquisition would limit future capital improvement funding because it would be added to the Business Building 30-year lease and bonds for the new engineering building, student achievement center, wellness center, and other buildings still being paid for. Another question is whether the properties in that neighborhood would be attractive to new faculty or graduate students at the rents required to pay for the loan, maintenance, and management, and President Sandoval did not mention a market study or business plan. The President has requested feedback through the Faculty Senate; you can provide comments here about whether future faculty and graduate students would be interested in living there.


    Provost Thompson and VP Clinger professed “cautious optimism” about the 2025–26 and 2026–27 budgets in the next legislative session, but that does not help for FY2025. President Sandoval has proposed a new ⅛-cent Washoe County sales tax for UNR and TMCC infrastructure and capital improvements, which would require legislative, county commission, and possibly voter approval. New revenue to fund higher education is highly desirable, but this is apparently the first time since 1885 [1] that county taxpayers have been asked to fund the state university. As mentioned by a speaker at the Campus Conversation, sales taxes are regressive.

    The Ad Hoc Committee on Higher Education Funding, which will make recommendations in July, is a wild card. NFA has been actively engaged with the funding formula committee, and the NFA state board has published a set of principles for funding higher education. Faculty feedback on the preliminary recommendations for funding formula changes by the committee’s consultant would be appreciated, especially from department chairs and others who administer state-supported instructional budgets. 


    Our UNR budget analyses are based on public reports and records and interpreted as accurately as possible given uncertainties in the assumptions used for various reports. Corrections from authoritative sources are welcome. Contact:

    Previous articles on the UNR budget crisis:

    [1] In 1885, the Nevada Legislature directed Washoe County to issue $25,000 in bonds to fund the university’s move from Elko to Reno, to be paid by a property tax in Reno (1885 Statutes of Nevada, Chapter LXXI).

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