The State Board of Regents won't be forced by political or public pressure to turn Utah Valley Community College into a four-year school, Utah's higher education chief told lawmakers Wednesday.

Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr, responding to questions by the Legislature's Education Interim Committee, reported Wednesday that the regents are now looking at the UVCC issue "up front" and won't get caught in the backlash of political and public pressure surrounding any movement to change UVCC's role.Kerr's remarks came during a discussion of a proposed policy that defines the functions and missions of the state's three types of higher-education institutions - teaching and research universities, metropolitan/regional universities and community colleges.

The policy itself was born in the political tangle over the renaming of Weber State College and Southern Utah State College.

Committee chairman, Rep. Richard Bradford, R-Sandy, noting the changing nature of UVCC because of the enrollment cap at Brigham Young University, asked if the new policy would preclude UVCC from switching roles.

Kerr said the proposed policy wouldn't prohibit a role change, if the regents approve.

Because of BYU's enrollment cap at 27,000 students and the tightening of its transfer policy, there is a strong feeling among many that "BYU is not meeting the needs" of Utah County residents, Kerr said.

He reported that of the Utah County's 4,500 high school graduates last spring, only 400 were accepted at BYU.