Carter Announces Two-Year NU Tuition Freeze

May 7, 2020, 6:45 p.m. ·

University of Nebraska President Ted Carter announces tuition freeze Thursday (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

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University of Nebraska President Ted Carter announced Thursday the university will freeze tuition for two years.

The tuition freeze announced Thursday will cover the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. An increase of 2.75 percent for the 2020-21 academic year, approved before Carter became NU president, will remain in effect. But Carter said it’s important to plan for the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

“We all know we’re going to come through this at some point. Our economy will recover as we’re looking at over a 4 percent unemployment rate here in the state of Nebraska now when we’ve been used to about an unemployment rate less than 2 percent. And when that comes back, we need to make sure we have an educated workforce ready to go to work and grow our economy,” Carter said.

In recent years, Carter said, tuition increases have averaged about 3 percent. Each percentage point increase in tuition brings in about $3 million in revenue, according to University spokesperson Melissa Lee. Based on those figures, a two-year freeze could mean about $18 million in foregone revenue. Lee said the hope is that the freeze will help stabilize enrollment.

With the announcement, the university said, most Nebraska undergraduates will pay the following per credit hour for the next three academic years:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: $259
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: $235
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: $209
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: $139

Carter said the university would not ask the Legislature for more money to make up for the tuition freeze. Asked if that meant there would be program cuts, he said detailed plans would be discussed at the Board of Regents meeting in June. The university said it’s already taking steps to contain costs, including a system-wide hiring freeze, limits on spending and a review of all construction projects.

Carter said he’s getting feedback from students saying they’re tired of online classes, and said he’s looking forward to them returning to campus in the fall. He noted some institutions are projecting enrollment drops of 15-20 percent, but predicted that would not happen in Nebraska. And looking to the future, the Navy veteran paraphrased Revolutionary War Captain and early Navy leader John Paul Jones’ recruiting pitch “Sign on, come sail with me.”

“Sign on. Come to Nebraska. Stay in Nebraska. Come live, work, grow and learn with me at the University of Nebraska,” Carter said.

Editor’s note: By way of full disclosure, some NET employees are University of Nebraska employees.