The University's number one goal has been affordable access to a college education, and with the leadership of the Governor and the Legislature over the last two years, we have kept tuition increases at their lowest levels in years. The Governor and I have joined to advocate a significant increase in the state's college-going rate. But under this proposed budget, access and affordability for students and families would suffer.
I have high regard for Governor Heineman, and I have no doubt he believes the course he has recommended is good for Nebraska. But funding higher education at a level that would almost certainly restrict access and require a combination of significant tuition increases and major cuts to programs cannot be good for our state's future.
The key to Nebraska's future is to be successful in the competition for talent—by providing quality teaching, research and outreach for Nebraskans and by attracting new, talented people to our state. I believe Nebraskans understand that investing in higher education is essential to this goal.