The Nebraska Legislature has given final approval to the state budget package, including adjustments to funding for the University of Nebraska.
Under the terms of the approved budget, the university’s appropriation will be reduced $11 million in the current fiscal year, with an additional $6 million cut for 2018-19. An initial recommendation would have removed $23 million in university funding in fiscal year 2018-19.
The budget now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts for consideration.
While any cut requires difficult decisions, NU President Hank Bounds said that the funding levels recommended by the Legislature’s appropriations committee and approved by state senators will help the university maintain its upward trajectory. Additionally, the university will not have to consider across-the-board tuition increases for 2018-19 beyond the 3.2 percent increase previously approved by the NU Board of Regents.
Ricketts has until midnight April 9 to sign the budget, veto the bill or veto individual items within the document.
Bounds said the April 3 vote represents an important step and thanked the Legislature for its continued support of the university’s impact on Nebraska.
“I’m grateful to members of the Legislature for their strong support of affordable, excellent education for the 53,000 students of the University of Nebraska,” Bounds said. “Chairman Stinner, Vice Chairwoman Bolz and members of the appropriations committee showed great leadership in making higher education a priority, and many of their colleagues in the body were passionate champions for the value the university brings to Nebraska’s economy and quality of life.
“While we still face difficult budget cuts, the funding approved by the Legislature would allow the university to maintain our affordability and continue our momentum in serving students and the people of our state.”
Bounds also thanked students, faculty, staff and Nebraskans across the state who voiced support for the university. University supporters filled the room for NU’s appropriations hearing on Feb. 14 and offered powerful testimony about the transformational impact of higher education. More than 100 supporters, including students from across the entire university system, also attended “I Love NU” Advocacy Day.
Many others wrote letters and expressed support in other ways, all of which made a clear impact on legislators as they went about the hard work of weighing the state’s budget priorities, Bounds said.
Bounds plans to meet with the chancellors and senior leadership teams across the University of Nebraska system to determine next steps in terms of budget planning.
Regular updates about NU’s legislative efforts are available through the University of Nebraska Advocate website.