University of Nebraska students will pay higher tuition, averaging $5 – $7 per credit hour, and faculty and staff will receive raises averaging 2%, under the budget approved Friday by the Board of Regents.
The legislature gave the University a 3% budget increase for the coming school year. Friday’s vote by the Regents approved President Hank Bounds plans for using the $990 milllion dollars. Even though the appropriation amounted to a $17 Million increase over the current year, Bounds said inflation will push fixed costs upward by around $21 million. The tuition increase is expected to close the gap by raising the additional $4 Million.
Bounds called the package “a good budget” and said it will “stop the bleeding” from 3 major state-mandated budget cuts over the past two years. The cuts have forced the University to examine its inner workings, and has result in cuts of nearly $30 million in annual overhead.
“Given the financial stress that this State has faced over the past several years, I think we’re in a good place” Bounds said. He added, however, that while the budget will cover basic costs and annual increases in operating expenses, “It’s not a growth budget” he said. “This budget won’t allow us to meaningfully address workforce issues in a more robust way than we have been doing.”
Even with the increase, he said, Nebraska’s tuition will remain the lowest in the Big 10.