Tuition increase, spending cuts announced to close University of Nebraska's budget shortfall

13 de Junio de 2024 a las 11:00 ·

Chris Kabourek
Chris Kabourek (Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska)

A tuition increase is included in the University of Nebraska’s $1.1 billion budget for the 2024-25 operating year.

Announced Thursday, the budget will go before the Board of Regents at its June 20 meeting.

A press release stated the budget will advance Nebraska’s vision for academic excellence and competitiveness.

In achieving one of Interim President Chris Kabourek’s highest priorities of eliminating the university’s structural deficit, the budget provides a “clean slate” as President-Elect Jeffrey P. Gold transitions into the role on July 1.

“This is a responsible budget that puts us in a strong position for the year ahead,” Kabourek said in a press release. “We will need to be disciplined in prioritizing our spending, but I’m very pleased that we have built a plan that allows us to make investments that will have major impact for students, our workforce and Nebraska’s competitiveness.”

The budget identifies $11.8 million in permanent spending cuts to be identified in the upcoming fiscal year. These cuts, to be allocated across the four campuses and Office of the President, follow $30 million in cuts that have been made over the past two years.

An inflationary tuition increase is proposed under the budget, which would amount to $9 more per credit hour for Nebraska undergraduates at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, $8 more per credit hour at the University of Omaha, and $7 more per credit hour at the University of Kearney.

The increase amounts to $135 per semester for a Nebraska undergraduate student attending UNL, or $1.29 per day. A UNO student would pay $1.14 more per day and a UNK student would pay $1 more per day. There will be no impact for students who receive the Nebraska Promise, NU’s financial aid program that guarantees full tuition coverage for Nebraska students with family incomes of $65,000 or less.

The budget proposal also outlined investments in the university system including:

  • $1.5 million to expand the Presidential Scholars Program, which provides a full cost of attendance scholarship plus a $5,000 annual stipend to Nebraska students who score a perfect 36 on the ACT.
  • $1.5 million for additional strategic priorities of President-Elect Gold’s choosing.
  • $15 million in state funds to support operations and staffing at the Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex at UNK, a transformational public-private partnership that will ensure a strong healthcare workforce pipeline for our rural communities.
  • A 3% salary pool, to be awarded based on merit, to recruit and retain top faculty and staff.

University leadership will continue to engage the Board, faculty, staff, students and all Nebraskans in conversations about the university’s future, Kabourek said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind we can achieve our goals to get back into the AAU, make UNO a premier metropolitan university, strengthen UNK’s role in rural Nebraska and maintain a world-class medical center. But the headwinds facing higher education are not going away,” Kabourek said. “We’ll need to have the courage to challenge the status quo and have uncomfortable conversations about our priorities, structure, productivity, and program and administrative duplication if we want to find the resources necessary to move us forward."