This archived article was written by: Chase Dâ€™Ambrosio
The Utah Legislature closed the 2007 General Session February 28 amid cheers from state agencies and educational leaders who rejoiced at record levels of funding appropriated for fiscal year 2008.
Many changes and amendments have been completed that will directly affect Utah citizens, and will also impact students at the College of Eastern Utah.
CEU received a budget of $21,430,600 for fiscal year 2008, compared to last year’s budget of $17,320,600. The 21.7% increase is the largest percentage increase in the Utah System of Higher Education. CEU also received $17,870,600 towards tax funds an increase of over $3 million dollars. Tuition and student fees also received a slight increase of just over $200,000. The increase may not seem too generous while dealing with such large monetary figures, but for all starving college students it has become evident that every little bit helps.
Other benefits which will be received by CEU are the nursing program receiving $37,500 towards their development, One million dollars towards CEU and Utah State University partnership, and $1,570,200 towards the merger of CEU and the Southeast Applied Technology College merger.
The CEU Price and San Juan campuses received $500,000 dollars towards CEU priorities. The Price City campus received money towards priorities such as Senior Accountant, Dean of Students, Archaeology Curator, Police Officer and Energy Workforce Preparation. San Juan received money towards their Early Childhood Development, and Native American Outreach programs.
One of the newly acquired bills that will directly involve students according to “Selected Highlights of the 2007 General Session prepared by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel” is House Bill 196- Higher Education Criminal Background Checks. This bill requires the State Board of Regents to adopt a policy that will require certain new and existing staff and faculty members of higher educational institutions to provide a criminal background check. The bill directs the State Board of Regents to adopt a policy requiring an applicant for a position in a higher education institution that involves significant contact with a minor or a position that is security sensitive to submit to a criminal background check as a condition of employment.
Existing employees of a higher education institution are to submit to a criminal background check, where reasonable cause exists, authorizes higher education institutions to request the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification to conduct criminal background checks. The bill also addresses the payment of the costs of criminal background checks, and requires notice of criminal background checks to prospective and existing employees and an opportunity for review of information obtained through a criminal background.
House Bill 309- Tuition Waiver for Military Members Surviving Dependants. This bill waives the undergraduate tuition at state institutions of higher education for surviving dependents of Utah resident military members killed on federal-active duty.
House Bill 371 Applied Technology Education Amendments. This bill modifies provisions relating to applied technology education, including merging the Southeast Applied Technology College (located on 375th South and Carbon Avenue in Price) with the College of Eastern Utah.
The bill requires specific parental notification and consent before minor public education students may participate in the clinical experience segment of health care occupation programs. It also removes the Southeast Applied Technology College from the Utah College of Applied Technology and transfers its functions and responsibilities to the CEU. Another positive aspect is that it tuition uniformity is provided for duplicate programs, along with creating an applied technology advisory committee at CEU.