UW Trustees Approve Supplemental Budget Request

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The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees Wednesday approved a supplemental budget request for the 2019-20 fiscal year that includes dollars to match private donations for scholarships, academics and athletics, as well as to implement UW’s strategic plan.

The board voted unanimously to send the request to the governor’s office, which will present a proposed supplemental budget to the Wyoming State Legislature for consideration during its general session early next year.

“This supplemental budget request represents our top priorities in addressing the key opportunities and challenges facing the university at mid-biennium,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “We are particularly excited about the opportunity to complement the strong state support for the University of Wyoming with private giving from our alumni and friends to further enhance teaching and research at UW.”

The request seeks up to $10 million in state funding, to be matched by the same amount in private dollars, to create a scholarship endowment aimed at encouraging the state’s high school graduates and community college transfer students to stay in Wyoming. This would help the state achieve its educational attainment goal of 67 percent of Wyoming’s working-age population holding postsecondary certificates or degrees by 2025. Data from the Lumina Foundation show that 48 percent of Wyoming’s citizens hold certificates or degrees at present.

The $20 million endowment for the new scholarship program would be created over time, as private funding is secured.

UW’s request also seeks $5 million, to be matched by the same amount in private dollars, to create an endowment to boost programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Among the possible uses of that funding are bolstering support to the state’s livestock industry; creation of endowed professorships in key areas, including forestry management; facility improvements to the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena; and exploration of new majors such as in equine studies or ranching and land management.

UW seeks $1 million in recurring dollars, to be matched by a like amount in private funding, to enhance UW athletics competitiveness. This would return athletics matching dollars to the level established when the matching program began in 2015, in response to changes in NCAA regulations regarding student-athlete scholarships and benefits, along with recruiting, nutrition and other services to student-athletes.

The supplemental budget request also includes $1 million in one-time funding for a pool within UW’s block grant that could be used for initiatives tied to the strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022.” Possible uses are helping launch the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; expansion of UW’s technology transfer office, to expand patents and more seamlessly transfer research to commercial uses; development of a new major in construction management; enhancement of grant development expertise; and cross-discipline research in conjunction with UW’s Science Initiative.

Also sought is a $1 million annual increase in ongoing funding for Science Initiative programs. The Science Initiative will, among other things, enable world-class research and education in life and data sciences that impact areas including biodiversity, agriculture and natural resource management.

A one-time request of $1 million would go toward water exploration and development in various locations, intended to enable UW to develop additional sources of potable and nonpotable water.

Finally, the supplemental budget request seeks $350,000 of ongoing funds for operation of UW’s Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (WYNDD), whose work informs policy decisions regarding Wyoming animal and plant species. Dollars available within UW’s state block grant for WYNDD have not kept pace with the program’s core operational costs in recent years.

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