A $10 million expansion of the University of Utah's medical school ranked high on a legislative committee's priority list Wednesday, behind $16 million for the state's public colleges and universities and $9.75 million for its system of technical schools.
The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee also included $20 million to help schools meet Gov. Gary Herbert's goal of having 66 percent of the state's population with some sort of post-high school education by 2020.
"We feel good about it," said Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler.
There's also $4 million for the newly minted Dixie State University and about $7.8 million for salary increases at colleges, universities and technical schools though that priority was lower for legislators than school leaders. At a meeting Wednesday, the committee also approved to changes to the initial proposal, placing about $500,000 for operations and maintenance at Utah College of Applied Technology buildings higher on the list as well as $100,000 for the Utah Women and Education Initiative.
The budget priorities now go to the Executive Appropriations Committee, which will work the higher education requests into an overall budget, which will then be voted on by the full Utah Legislature.
Herbert gave higher education a 6.6 percent increase in his proposed budget, an increase that would come after several years of cuts that ended last year.
"We know that revenue is down a bit from what the governor had," Buhler said. "We'll just have to see."