President Young addresses institutional funding priorities

By By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

University of Utah President Michael K. Young presented the U’s institutional funding priorities for this legislative session to the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday.

These priorities are treated separately from the state’s budget for higher education, which is estimated to be between $800 million and $1 billion.

Depending on what the committee decides, these priorities could cost an additional $20 to $50 million, said Rep. John Dougall, R-American Fork.

President Young presented three areas of particular need for the U, the first being digital media classes. These include the U’s programs in communication, film, graphic arts and digital design, which fill up quickly and exceed the U’s course availability.

Young said he would like to expand the programs and hire more interdisciplinary professors to account for the growing numbers.

Another priority the U is primarily concerned with is obtaining funding for training public educators in mathematics and science.

The additional funding would be used to add faculty in science areas, focusing on new science and education faculty members to prepare Utah’s educators and obtain more up-to-date scientific technology for these areas.

The final priority area Young discussed was what he considers to be his passion–providing better advising and support for students on campus.

This would be used to help provide more and better guidance and advice for students–in particular, to aide them in graduating more quickly, which he said would “enhance the quality of the educational experience” at the U.

Dougall said it would not be known until later in the session whether or not the committee will be distributing funds to these areas, despite the large surplus.

“Every member of the committee will have a different perspective as to what areas are a priority,” Dougall said.

The budget for higher education comes from the general tax fund and income taxes. Once the budget for public education has been established, the remaining appropriated funds will be distributed to higher education according to priority.