University Affairs

Utah State Legislature Brief: How USU Fared in the 2024 Legislative Session

Following the close of the 2024 General Legislative Session on March 1, Utah State University reviewed the appropriations bills that directly impact the university, its employees and its students. An initial summary of those actions is listed below. Look for more information about specific programs in the coming weeks and months.

Compensation

The Utah Legislature approved a 3% labor market increase for higher education, along with funding for renewals for health and dental plans in fiscal year 2025. This funding was appropriated at the traditional 75/25 match rate for degree-granting institutions. This means the state provides 75% of the funding for the salary increase, and institutions like USU must come up with the remaining 25%, typically covered through a tuition increase. Supervisors will provide more information to their employees in the coming months.

Building Projects

All of the system requests for dedicated projects, including funding for the USU College of Veterinary Medicine and the Human Resources Building, were successful.

USU Initiatives Benefiting the State

  • A Statewide Energy Engineering Education and Workforce Initiative received $450,000 in one-time and $2.1 million in ongoing funds. Utah’s first statewide rural-focused energy engineering program will enhance the state’s energy economy and help develop a next-generation workforce better equipped to leverage Utah’s energy portfolio.
  • A Utah Forest Restoration Institute at Utah State University received $55,000 in one-time and $765,000 in ongoing funds. The Institute will facilitate improved management of fire risks and fire effects within the state, secure federal funding for Utah-specific initiatives, and create a way for managers and researchers to collaborate given the unique characteristics of Utah’s forests, woodlands and wildfire.
  • The Center for the School of the Future in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services received $200,000 in ongoing funding for their Teacher Academy Schools collaborations where prospective teachers can access extended apprenticeships in K-12 school settings. The center also received $1.5 million in one-time funds to design and implement processes that Utah schools will use to access to provide substantial compensation increases to Utah’s most effective teachers.

Systemwide Partnerships and Investments

  • The Life Sciences Initiative received $2 million in one-time and $2 million in ongoing funding. Funds will be administered through the Utah System of Higher Education and Talent Ready Utahto expand and develop targeted programs at higher education institutions to meet workforce needs in the life sciences.
  • Educating High-Temperature Materials Engineers for Hypersonics received $1.45 million in one-time funds. This is part two of a joint engineering project between USU and Weber State University to develop engineering programs for extreme environment materials.
  • The USHE Marine Sciences Laboratory Partnership received $1.5 million in one-time funding to build the Science Learning Center at the Living Planet Aquarium. This 120,000 square-foot building will include advanced science laboratories, a veterinary hospital, dedicated research space, and classroom facilities for all the USHE schools.
  • The Elizabeth Smart Foundation received funding to implement the Smart Defense program as an optional elective course at Utah’s public universities. This program teaches courses to both men and women on how to use their strength and voices to protect themselves and feel in control of their bodies and boundaries.
  • The Utah Legislature passed and funded HB 221 Stipends for Future Educators to provide stipends to support future educators from institutions across Utah while they do their student teaching.

Additional Awards Involving USU Researchers

  • The Great Salt Lake Split-Season Lease Project received $170,000 in one-time funding, which will involve USU experts in agriculture optimization and water management.
  • The Division of Water Rights received $3 million in one-time funding for data management. The DWRi has an ongoing contract with experts at the Utah Water Research Laboratory and the College of Engineering, and USU will work closely with the Utah Division of Water Rights on this project.
  • $1 million in ongoing and $1 million in one-time funding was awarded to enhance the Great Salt Lake Watershed Measurement Infrastructure. Utah State researchers will be involved with the state on the implementation of this project.

CONTACT

Amanda DeRito
Associate VP of Strategic Communications
University Marketing and Communications
435-797-2759
Amanda.derito@usu.edu


TOPICS

Utah 376stories

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in University Affairs

See Also