Regents approve university budget requests

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved FY14 operating budget requests from the three state universities and will submit a system-wide request to the governor by Oct. 1.

Included in the Regents’ overall request are two distinct components: base adjustments of $81.9 million and one-time adjustments of $120.9 million.

Northern Arizona University is asking for one-time funding of $41 million for building renewal, instructional innovation and for hiring more tenured and tenure-track faculty.

NAU President John Haeger also said the institution is working to increase faculty and staff salaries. “Hiring tenure and tenure-track faculty and bringing faculty and staff close to market is absolutely necessary or we can’t compete with our peer institutions,” Haeger said.

NAU is seeking $15 million for fire, life and safety upgrades for the most “desperate needs” of the university. “The situation is getting worse,” Haeger said.

The university’s instructional innovation request includes $5 million to increase the capacity of the Lumberjack Mathematics Center, which is anticipated to grow from helping 2,000 students to 4,000 and to create more highly interactive courses.

Haeger said he is also asking for funding to immediately launch an occupational therapy program for the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Center, which already houses graduate programs in physical therapy and physician assistant.

Requests from the other institutions include a one-time adjustment of $15 million the University of Arizona; $35 million for Hayden Library renovations at Arizona State University; and soft-capital requests for advancing clinical and translational medical sciences at the UA for $40 million; learning technology platform enhancements at ASU for $7.8 million; and $3 million for exploratory funding for a veterinary medicine program at the UA.

“We are mindful that the state has a number of variables to consider as it formulates next year’s budget and we believe the universities’ official budget requests reflect the realities of the current economic conditions,” said ABOR Chair Rick Myers. “We urge that higher education be considered among the highest priorities given our connection to workforce development, job creation, and overall statewide economic impact.”

The full Arizona University System fiscal year 2014 budget request is available online.