DSU receives legislative funding to support student growth, regional workforce needs
By Jyl Hall
March 14, 2018
As the 2018 session came to a close, the Utah State Legislature appropriated more than $4.3 million in new ongoing funding to Dixie State University to accommodate the institution’s record-breaking growth, build new programs to fill southern Utah’s workforce shortages and meet other institutional needs.
Receiving a total of $4,341,800 in new ongoing funding, Dixie State was allocated 12.2 percent more than last year, a significant increase that demonstrates the Legislature’s support of Dixie State and higher education in general.
In support of student growth, the Legislature allocated $1,286,400 in new ongoing funding to Dixie State, which the Utah System of Higher Education reported this fall as having the highest enrollment percentage increase among Utah’s public colleges and universities for the second consecutive year. In fact, DSU broke its total enrollment record with 9,673 students this fall and welcomed its largest-ever freshman class.
“We are grateful for a forward-thinking Legislature that recognizes the tremendous growth happening at Dixie State University and takes steps to ensure we can meet the needs of our students,” DSU President Richard B. Williams said.
Student growth and capacity funds will be used to create full-time faculty positions in general education disciplines such as math, English, biology, nutrition and food science, geography and psychology. The funds will also be used to update and supply classrooms with the necessary technology to meet growing student demands and industry expectations.
Dixie State also received $1,314,900 in new ongoing funding to build new programs to fill workforce shortages in southern Utah and boost the local economy.
“We are laser-focused on providing a pipeline of talented graduates to the southern Utah workforce,” Williams said. “This funding allows us to continue that mission by enlarging programs that are in the highest demand.”
To meet southern Utah’s specific nursing, health and wellness needs, funding will support the operating costs of Dixie State’s new traditional Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program. Set to be offered starting in the Fall 2018 semester, the program will make more spots available in the highly sought-after program. Funds also will be used to support the new population health, recreation & sport management and genetic counseling programs.
Engineering funds will be used to hire faculty to start the mechanical engineering program. Additionally, business, hospitality and tourism allocations will be used to hire faculty to teach additional entrepreneurism, accounting and marketing classes.
Dixie State also received $176,400 in funding to hire staff to provide advising, structured enrollment and tutoring services to students. To invest in faculty and staff, the university was appropriated $500,900 to go toward ensuring faculty and staff members’ compensation packages are equitable as well as $1,036,300, in line with the proportionate percentage all USHE institutions received for base compensation.
“As an open-access institution that accepts all applicants, it’s important that we have the necessary resources to help each of our students press on to graduation,” Williams said. “Thanks to the Legislature’s support, this will be possible, and we can’t thank our senators and representatives enough for their support and commitment to Dixie State University.”