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Fee increase to help colleges celebrate graduation

Starting this spring, graduation will cost students one and a half times what this month’s graduates paid in graduation fees.

After a unanimous decision by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on Dec. 2, the Graduation, Diploma and Certificate Fee was raised from $50 to $75.

The money will be distributed to the individual colleges, to allow them to continue holding graduation receptions.

The budget that this fee will supplement is currently operating at a deficit because it costs more to produce the services and materials students receive for graduation than students were being charged in fees.

Staffing in the Graduation Office has already been reduced to the minimum allowable to maintain operation.

The increase request came to the board in a package with requests for many other fee increases from the seven other state higher education institutions.

The College of Southern Nevada will charge new fees to students taking certification exams in its school of health sciences. The costs range from $5 for a retake of the dental hygiene Dexterity and Spatial Test to $134 for the AP Nursing Content Mastery Test.

Among the changes approved for the University of Nevada, Reno were the institution of a new $250 advance deposit for first-year students and a $130 new student fee and an increase of the international student fee from $145 to $525 per semester,

UNR also eliminated some fees, including its graduate and undergraduate costs for the Independent Learning Program ($156 and $253, respectively) and its $110 orientation fee,

Third- and fourth-year students at the UNR School of Medicine (UNSOM) will see their simulation lab fees increase from $577 to $700 per year. UNSOM will also charge a new $450 fee for students taking the National BME Subject Exam in year one.

UNLV receives return of excess student fees

More than $980,000 in student fees is expected to be returned to UNLV, after a vote of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents’ Business and Finance Committee on Dec. 2.

The committee voted to give back $135,000 to the UNLV School of Dental Medicine and $187,946 to the William S. Boyd School of Law, in addition to a $980,700 return to the university.

The planned disbursement is part of an expenditure, to cost about $2.6 million, that would return fees collected from the eight NSHE institutions in excess of forecasts made in their respective biennial budgets.

According to the committee’s briefing paper, excess fees are usually the result of enrollment exceeding projections.

The redistribution is pending approval of the state Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee, which will meet Dec. 17.

Regents issue bonds to refinance UNLV debt

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents voted unanimously to issue approximately $55 million in bonds to help UNLV refinance outstanding debt for interest savings, at meetings Dec. 2-3.

The action will allow the system to restructure its investments in light of a drop in market interest.

The decision is based on the right of NSHE to call previously held bonds from bondholders and pay them off prior to their scheduled maturity.

The refinancing is expected to produce a present value savings of $2.1-$3.4 million, with no extension of the repayment term, based on estimates at the time the request was drafted.

The amount of actual savings will depend on market interest rates at the time the bonds are sold.

The bonds will be sold to an underwriting team headed by George K. Baum & Company, which was selected by the state request for proposal process. The committee expects the bonds to be issued before its next meeting, in March.

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine looks to expand Las Vegas satellite campus

Administrators from UNLV’s northern neighbor are looking to buy a foreclosure property near the UNLV School of Dental Medicine’s Shadow Lane Campus.

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents’ Investment and Facilities Committee voted unanimously at its Dec. 2 meeting to grant permission to issue $20 in bonds for the possible purchase of a building at 1701 West Charleston Blvd.

The plan allots $8.45 million for the purchase of the facility and $11.55 million for renovation and development, to turn what has been office space into classroom and lab space.

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNSOM) currently leases space near the proposed site that houses UNSOM administrative offices and clinical space for health care providers in the school’s Multi-Specialty Group Practice Plan.

UNR officials will hold off on the purchase throughout a do-diligence period that ends Jan. 17, during which the title will be reviewed, the property appraised and the building condition assessed.

If all goes according to plan, the facility will be purchased by Feb. 16.

If the Las Vegas satellite of the UNSOM is moved to the new location, it would vacate another space on Charleston Boulevard that the University Medical Center hopes to convert into an administrative office.

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