Resident tuition freeze highlights proposed 2013-14 operating budget

A freeze on resident tuition rates highlights the University of Nebraska’s proposed 2013-14 operating budget announced today by President James B. Milliken. The NU Board of Regents will consider the budget on June 7.

The tuition freeze is the first phase of a two-year commitment the university proposed earlier this year as part of an “affordability compact” with the state. Through the compact, the university committed to freeze tuition for all Nebraska students for 2013-14 and 2014-15 if the state would renew its investment in higher education after five years of essentially flat funding for operations.

The Legislature and Governor recently approved a 4 percent annual increase in state appropriations for NU for the upcoming biennium. Accordingly, tuition for all Nebraska students – undergraduate, graduate and professional, on-campus and online – will be frozen for the next two years. The average undergraduate will save about $1,000.

“I’m very grateful to Governor Heineman and members of the Legislature for their support of the university’s ‘affordability compact,’ which will help ensure quality, accessible higher education for Nebraskans,” Milliken said. “Their investment in the University of Nebraska puts us in a position not only to support important priorities, but also to freeze tuition for Nebraskans for two years – a step we know will be welcomed by thousands of students and families in the state.”

With the tuition freeze, resident tuition increases since 2006 average slightly more than 4.5 percent. The university has not frozen tuition on any of its campuses since 1990. Tuition and fees at each of NU’s four campuses continue to be well below the average costs of peer institutions.

Other components of the proposed 2013-14 operating budget include:

  • A 3 percent increase in nonresident tuition – the lowest increase since 1997.
  • A 3 percent increase in the salary pool for faculty and staff outside the collective bargaining units at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney. The funds will be distributed on the basis of merit and performance. Faculty salaries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Medical Center lag 7.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively, behind the peer averages.
  • A $2.5 million investment in Programs of Excellence, which are high-priority academic areas across the university. POE funds are awarded to the campuses on a competitive basis to enhance the success and reputation of outstanding programs, such as early childhood education, water, public health, and information science and technology.
  • A shortfall of slightly less than $2 million. This comes on top of more than $76 million in budget reallocations since 2000.

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Melissa Lee
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University of Nebraska
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