This archived article was written by: Daniel Pike
The 2015 Utah State Legislature session ended with good news for higher education institutions in the state, including Utah State University Eastern. This year’s session was both productive and beneficial for several reasons.
Chancellor Joe Peterson explains that USU Eastern’s instructors and staff will be happy with the outcome. “Our No. one priority—as a university—was compensation. We actually did better than we have for several years in that we got a two percent compensation increase, composed of cost-of-living adjustment and merit.”
There has also been a slight increase in tuition costs, though Peterson says it isn’t a huge increase. “This year we had the lowest tuition increase we’ve seen in approximately 10 years; so, it’s an increase, but not a major one.”
While tuition increases aren’t exactly the most exciting item to come from a legislative session, it is not without merit. “The tuition increase will bring new revenue to the college that we’ll use to pay 25 percent of the two-percent increase in salaries,” Peterson said.
USU Eastern also came away with a substantial fund for improving the campus. The Chancellor said, “The state also gave us a major allocation for capital improvement funds to keep up our facilities. With these funds we can paint, patch and repair. It’s basically there to improve and beautify our campus, and we have plenty of need for that.”
When an institution walks away from a legislative session with more than it walked in with, it is a win for all involved. Peterson said, “For higher education, it was a good session. It wasn’t as good as we had hoped for, but it was still better than most years.”