Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts released on Jan. 14 a proposed two-year state budget package that fully funds the University of Nebraska system’s appropriations request for 2021-22 and 2022-23, including key investments in student access that support the university’s highest priority of affordable excellence.
Under Ricketts’ budget proposal, issued following his annual State of the State address, NU would receive 2 percent increases in state funds each of the next two years. The modest increases reflect the university’s commitment to being a good partner to the state during a challenging fiscal period.
The additional funds would help cover the university’s compensation expenses in the upcoming biennium; all other increased expenses, including utilities, inflation and strategic investments, would be covered through internal reallocations, as outlined in a multi-year NU budget plan built and announced last year by the president and chancellors.
Ricketts also proposed a continued investment in the Nebraska Career Scholarships, a new statewide program providing scholarships to college students in high-need areas like engineering, healthcare, IT and math. NU campuses have begun awarding Nebraska Career Scholarships for the spring 2021 semester.
The governor’s budget includes a $1 million annual increase for the Nebraska Opportunity Grant program, the state’s need-based financial aid program. About half of the aid from the Nebraska Opportunity Grant program is directed to University of Nebraska students.
“I am encouraged and thankful for Gov. Ricketts’ show of support for public higher education in this budget proposal,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “This is a strong and timely investment in the future of Nebraska’s land-grant university. It is a critically-important commitment that will allow our students, research, innovation and outreach to continue making impacts in all 93 counties across Nebraska.
“I look forward to working with our state policymakers as this proposal is considered in the coming weeks.”
Ted Carter, president of the University of Nebraska system also thanked the governor for supporting the university’s budget request.
“The budget package proposed today by Governor Ricketts provides for affordable, outstanding education at the University of Nebraska,” Carter said. “This budget clears the way for our two-year tuition freeze, which will make a university education more accessible for thousands of students and families. And the governor’s commitment to the Nebraska Career Scholarships is a forward-thinking investment in access and workforce development.”
The budget package now moves to the Legislature for deliberation.