Lawmakers Friday again substituted a bill that would have appropriated additional funds for various colleges and universities, making Utah Valley State College the only recipient of additional funding.
SB103 initially set out to provide funding for improvements and various infrastructure priorities for all 10 public institutions, as well as improving student retention and graduation rates with assorted scholarship and programming options.
However, Rep. Ron Bigelow, R-West Valley, succeeded in introducing a substitution to make a single appropriation of $2 million to complete a previous legislative commitment of $10 million promised to complete the conversion of UVSC to Utah Valley University.
The absence of extra funding didn't come as a surprise to interim commissioner Dave Buhler, who said the appropriations subcommittee didn't fund the enhancements in its recommended budget.
"We'll just do without," he said. "There are things we will not be doing."
House sponsor Rep. Kory Holdaway, R-Taylorsville, said he had hoped the money would be seen as equity for the institutions of higher education.
"Any investment in funding higher education is an investment in our economy," he said.
The original bill, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, asked for $20 million, which was in addition to the general higher education budget priorities set by the appropriations subcommittee.
"Utah did not get to be in a solid financial position by not making wise decisions," Bigelow said. He recommended that institutions use portions of surplus non-lapsing funds to take care of their additional needs and said putting money away, instead of funding each wish list, was the "prudent thing to do.""We made sure we were reasonable with each of the institutions," he said.
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