University Proposes Lowest Tuition Increase in Eight Years
Lincoln, Neb., June 3, 2005 – After four years of double-digit tuition increases, University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken will recommend that the Board of Regents approve a tuition increase of just 5 percent for 2005-06. The proposal will be voted on at the June 10 Board of Regents meeting in Lincoln.

“Providing affordable access to high quality education is among the university’s highest priorities,” Milliken said. “Our goals are to provide educational and economic opportunity to Nebraskans, and to build a larger talent pool to help Nebraska compete effectively in the 21st century. We can achieve both only if we offer an affordable, high quality education. Keeping tuition reasonable, increasing the amount of need-based financial aid available to students, and ensuring a stable base of state support are essential strategies toward that end.”

The proposed 5 percent tuition increase compares with increases in the past four years ranging from 10 to 15 percent; increases have exceeded 5 percent every year since 1997-98. Under the proposed plan, a resident undergraduate student carrying 15 credit hours could expect an increase of about $100 per semester in tuition (proposed increases range from $5.75 to $7.25 per credit hour, depending on the campus). The increase would apply equally to all University of Nebraska students, in-state and out-of-state, undergraduate and graduate.

With a 5 percent increase, three of the four NU campuses would still be below the average increase expected by their peer institutions for 2005-06. Peer institutions of UNL and UNK face estimated increases of 7.04 percent; UNMC’s peers’ estimated increase is 7.93 percent and UNO’s peers’ estimated increase is 4.31 percent.

Milliken said students requiring financial assistance may be able to take advantage of the university’s new Tuition Assistance Program, which guarantees that any resident student who is financially eligible for a Pell Grant and who maintains certain academic standards will have his or her tuition covered for up to 30 credit hours per year. In addition, the State of Nebraska will make an additional $1.7 million in need-based aid available through the State Scholarship Program next year.

Under the biennial budget signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman, state appropriations for the university will also increase – by 7.7 percent in 2005-06 – helping to mitigate the need for a larger increase in tuition.

“The improvement in Nebraska’s economic and fiscal condition, along with the commitment of the legislature and the governor to higher education, paved the way for stronger state support of the university, which benefits our students,” Milliken said. “We are grateful to Governor Heineman, Senator Don Pederson and the other members of the Appropriations Committee for their leadership.”

Despite the increase in state appropriations and the revenue generated by a tuition increase, the university continues to face a financial shortfall in the next fiscal year. Decreases in enrollment, large graduating classes, increases in health insurance and utilities costs, and strategic investments in programs of excellence all impact the budget. Costs for health insurance alone will increase by $5.4 million in the next year.

“Each 1 percent increase in tuition generates about $1.6 million,” Milliken said. “However, raising tuition to cover the entire revenue shortfall would put an undue burden on our students. I believe that the combination of a modest tuition increase and some additional budget reductions will move us forward most effectively in our efforts to provide an affordable, high quality education.”

If the proposal is approved by the Board, tuition rates for 2005-06 will be as follows (costs noted are per credit hour):

$ 122.25
$ 151.50
$ 250.25
$ 313.25
$ 151.00
$ 199.50
$ 448.00
$ 537.50
$ 137.75
$ 171.75
$ 406.00
$ 451.50
$ 151.00
$ 199.50
$ 448.00
$ 537.50
$ 191.00
$ 216.50
$ 559.75
$ 604.25

* Fees for medicine, dentistry and pharmacy are charged on a semester basis.

Previous tuition increases**

1997-98 to 1998-99: 5.5%
1998-99 to 1999-00: 5.5%
1999-00 to 2000-01: 5.5%
2000-01 to 2001-02: 10%
2001-02 to 2002-03: 10%
2002-03 to 2003-04: 15%
2003-04 to 2004-05: 12%
2004-05 to 2005-06: 5% (proposed)

**Percentages listed are for undergraduate resident tuition rates; actual percentages vary slightly by campus.

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