A $467.4 million budget for higher education was presented to Gov. Norm Bangerter Friday, but as he has done with other state agencies this week, the governor is taking a wait-and-see approach.
The fiscal 1992 budget proposal includes a request for an additional $57.5 million in tax funds, and it projects that additional tuition revenue from the state's nine colleges and universities will total $11.1 million.Rolfe Kerr, commissioner of higher education, said unanticipated growth and a need to improve salaries for instructors is at the heart of the additional revenue request.
Kerr said last year's enrollment topped estimates by more than 2,000 students and the same held true this fall, leaving the system with more than 4,000 students unfunded. Kerr said the various colleges and universities are raiding other budget categories to hire part-time teachers and provide space for the unexpected enrollment surge. A supplemental budget request of $5.5 million for the current year will be sent to the Legislature in January to help ease the budget crunch. Kerr said the supplemental request will cover only half the actual cost.
Bangerter said the state's budget picture is extremely tight. Spending requests exceed projected revenues by $406 million, Bangerter said. Realistically, the state can expect about $100 million in new revenues, the governor said, but growth, inflation and federal spending mandates will consume some $200 million, leaving the state projections $100 million in the red to begin with.
Higher education is seeking $21 million in budget base adjustments to incorporate one-time allocations into the budget on an annual basis, to meet other mandated costs, to include maintenance and operations costs for new buildings into the budget and to fund salary increases equal to the rate of inflation.
Also being requested is $27.3 million to fund 6,551 new students, to provide matching funds for state and federal student financial aid programs and to fund applied technology programs at various colleges.
Higher education also wants $10.8 million for catch-up salary adjustments, $2.7 million to offset the effects of inflation on current expense and equipment budgets, $266,700 for urgent programs including expanding the number of baccalaureate programs taught on community college campuses and $6.5 million for other urgent institutional priorities.