Regents Seek $57.2 Million Hike in Higher-Education Funding

Regents Seek $57.2 Million Hike in Higher-Education Funding

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OREM, Utah (AP) -- The state Board of Regents is asking for $57.2 million on top of a base budget of $622.5 million for the state's support of higher education.

The 2006-07 budget request approved by the regents Thursday would be a 7.1 percent increase from the current budget.

Higher education gets about 60 percent of its operating budget from state appropriations, with the rest coming from tuition.

The $57.2 million request includes $45.3 million for priorities at nine state-owned colleges and the regents' administrative office, $5 million in one-time money and $6.9 million in supplemental increases.

The Utah College of Applied Technology, the 10th state-owned institution, has a separate budget.

An overall increase of 5 percent in salary and compensation for staff and faculty is the regents' top funding priority, but it was not included in its current request for tax funds.

However, the regents did ask for $5 million to keep some of the top-ranked professors and researchers from leaving Utah for higher wages elsewhere.

The budget request also included $6.3 million for fuel and power cost increases, $3.5 million for building operation and maintenance costs, $2.4 million for financial aid and $10 million for student access, advising and retention.

Gov. Jon Huntsman will submit his own budget recommendation to the Legislature.

Tuition increases are expected once again, with some institutions predicting a 20 percent hike.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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