By Chancellor Dan Klaich
Nevada System of Higher Education
I have spent a lot of time lately discussing the budget. My comments have tended to talk about millions of dollars coming out of campus funds and large percentage reductions to budgets or formulas. What that discussion has not conveyed is the personal damage these cuts are doing to the young men and women of our state.
Higher education changes lives, one student at a time, and it is our goal to build a better Nevada and a better future for all of us. In this report and in reports to come, I would like to stop talking for a moment about numbers and percentages and remind you of the wonderful students in this System and share some of their personal stories.
James Brose, Truckee Meadows Community College student:
I am a TMCC student in a degree transfer program, with plans to transfer to UNR to complete a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. My instructors here have been great and I have learned a lot from them. I appreciate the opportunity to take classes at TMCC and would highly recommend this experience to anyone. My wife is proud of my achievements, as am I, and will be even more proud of me when I finish my degree.
As a transfer student, any changes in the budget of either school will affect me, and changes to higher education as a whole will hit me twice. Like many students, I feel the struggle of trying to get the classes I need to carry a full academic load and still get the classes that will count toward my degree program. If TMCC and UNR are forced to make cuts, I fear that the classes I need will not be available for me to graduate on time or to take a full load each semester.
As it stands, my veteran’s benefits enable me to afford school, however, if I am only going to school part-time then my benefits would get cut and I would not be able to afford to go to school any more. I also fear that my degree program may be sacrificed to keep the institution open. If my degree program gets cut, it will feel like this state has slammed the doors shut on my education. And without education, there is nothing for me here.
Liz Phillips, Truckee Meadows Community College student:
I am a student at TMCC and an active member of the TMCC Student Government Association. The recent changes I have seen as result of budget cuts have already affected everyone in the student body, as well as the faculty and staff.
Trying to complete my associate degree has become a juggling game as requirements for each program are rarely being offered. This semester, I needed three different classes. However, each class was only being offered once and all three were on the same day and time, making it impossible to register for more than one class until another semester comes along.
I am currently completing my degree with plans to transfer to UNR in a specific program of study. However, now that I have applied and been accepted there, the program I am interested in no longer exists. This is forcing me to change my goals, or move to another state where the degree is currently being offered. I am definitely not alone in this situation.
I believe other measures can be taken in order to assist in our state’s time of crisis. Instead of cutting whole programs, or laying off hundreds of people, if everyone is just willing to give up a little more of their share and quit being so selfish we could find a more achievable way out of this dilemma.