The University of Nebraska Board of Regents on Friday approved a 2019-20 operating budget for NU that keeps tuition increases to a minimum while holding spending flat for a second consecutive year.
Under the $990 million state-aided budget, funded largely by state appropriations and tuition dollars, tuition will increase by an average of 2.75% each the next two years. The increase amounts to $5 to $7 more per credit hour each year for most Nebraska undergraduates. With the minimal increases, tuition rates across University of Nebraska campuses will remain well below the peer averages; resident tuition and fees are currently 22% below the peer average at UNO, 24% below the peer average at UNK and 39% below the Big Ten average at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
President Hank Bounds, Ph.D., credited Gov. Pete Ricketts, Appropriations Committee Chairman John Stinner, Vice Chairwoman Kate Bolz and the 33 other senators who agreed to fund the university's request for increases in state dollars of 3% and 3.7% in the next two years. Dr. Bounds said the state's partnership is helping NU turn the corner after a challenging fiscal period and is a key reason the university will be able to keep tuition affordable for students and families.
"This is a good budget for the 52,000 students we serve," Dr. Bounds said. Yet he noted that the lean budget will require the university and its partners to continue to be proactive and creative in addressing the state's urgent workforce challenges, recruiting and retaining talented faculty, and keeping the best and brightest students in Nebraska.
The budget also includes a 2% increase in the salary pool for non-bargained employees, to be distributed on the basis of merit. An additional 0.4% pool will be used to address faculty competitiveness issues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNMC.
The university's investment in need-based financial aid will increase at the same rate as tuition to limit the impact on students with the greatest financial need. Nonresident tuition at UNL will increase an average of 3.75% over the next two years, a change driven by the national market. UNL's nonresident tuition is currently the lowest in the Big Ten.
Students attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will pay $3.50 more per credit hour in 2019-20 and another $4 more per credit hour in 2020-21.