April 14, 2020
Dear Members of the UNLV Family:
We hope this letter finds you well. We are reaching out to keep you informed about possible state budget cuts that may impact UNLV and all higher education institutions in Nevada.
Last week, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak directed all state agencies – including the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) – to submit plans for potential budget cuts for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, ending June 30, 2020, and for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1. The NSHE Board of Regents, the governing body that oversees all public higher education institutions in the state, approved plans that were submitted to the Governor’s Office yesterday, April 13. UNLV worked closely with NSHE throughout this process.
As instructed, UNLV submitted plans for a possible 4 percent budget cut this fiscal year, or approximately $10 million. Possible cuts for next fiscal year range between $15 million and $36 million. If they come to pass, we will offset these cuts primarily through reducing operating budgets and multiple other cost-cutting measures, including extending the already-imposed hiring freeze and possibly implementing university-wide furloughs. If the highest level of budget reductions is necessary, NSHE may also impose a small per-credit surcharge ($6 for undergraduates or $8 for graduate students). As we know that many families throughout Nevada and our nation are struggling financially at this time, we will do everything we can to avoid additional costs to students. Our priority in implementing any reductions will be to preserve the quality of our educational offerings and support of students.
As we prepare our faculty and staff for possible budget and pay cuts, we also recognize the hardships our students’ families are facing and your potential questions about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Part of our strategy to offset state budget cuts relies on receiving funds through the CARES Act, including additional financial aid support for students. We anticipate awarding the student support portion of the CARES Act funds this semester based primarily on already established financial need. Although these funds never provide as much relief as we might hope, we will award them as soon as possible and stretch them as far as we can. We will know more about how and when these funds will be dispersed by the end of April.
In the meantime, we have taken some immediate measures to support students and their families. These include prorated refunds for parking, housing, and dining, as well as loaner laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students in need of these. We have transitioned almost all in-person services to phone and online, including advising, tutoring, technology, health and mental health care, electronic book access, and library resources. We also have temporarily suspended late fees on tuition payment plans, allowing payments to be delayed until Sept. 30, 2020 without penalty as long as a student is enrolled in a payment plan.
All of us at UNLV remain committed to fulfilling our educational mission and to providing services that contribute to your student’s success. We believe a college education is every bit as valuable as it was before this crisis, and possibly even more so. Thank you for your support and for being part of our UNLV family.
Chris L. Heavey, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Vice President and Provost