Regents approve operating budget, tuition rates for 2024-25

Regents approve operating budget, tuition rates for 2024-25
RRN/NU Board of Regents considered budget & tuition items at their June 20 meeting.
June 21st, 2024 | UNK Communications -- Tyler Ellyson

Lincoln, Neb. — The Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 2024-25 operating budget for the University of Nebraska that will eliminate the university’s current deficit, keep tuition affordable and make investments in strategic priorities to move Nebraska forward.

The $1.1 billion operating budget, approved by a 5-2 vote and with the support of all three student regents present at Thursday’s meeting, supports the university’s vision for excellence at a time of significant change and challenge for all of higher education, according to interim President Chris Kabourek. In closing NU’s shortfall for the current biennium, the budget also provides a “clean slate” for incoming President Dr. Jeff Gold, who assumes his new role on July 1.

“I think this is a responsible budget that puts us in a strong position for the year ahead,” said Kabourek, adding thanks to the chancellors, chief business officers and leadership teams for the many months of work behind the final product.

Key elements of the budget are:

  • An inflationary tuition increase. The increase amounts to $135 more per semester for a Nebraska undergraduate attending UNL, $120 more at UNO and $105 more at UNK. There will be no impact for students who receive the Nebraska Promise, as the university is increasing its investment in need-based financial aid at the same rate as tuition.

Kabourek, a first-generation college student from David City, noted the university takes any cost increases for students seriously. Students’ contributions support outstanding faculty and the high-quality educational experience they receive at Nebraska, he said.

“We have big goals for excellence,” he said. “I think it’s fair for all of us – the university, the state and our students – to chip in to help get us where we want to go.”

  • A 3% pool for merit-based salary increases for non-unionized faculty and staff.
  • $11.8 million in permanent spending reductions, allocated across the four campuses and Office of the President, to be made in the upcoming year.
  • No allocations for inflation, which will require departments and units to reprioritize their spending to manage inflationary increases.
  • $1.5 million to expand the Presidential Scholars Program, the new scholarship program that provides a full cost of attendance scholarship, plus a $5,000 annual stipend, to Nebraska students who score a perfect 36 on the ACT. Funds will be used to allow students who score a 32 or above to compete for a limited number of additional scholarships.
  • $15 million in state funds for staffing and operations at the Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex on the UNK campus.
  • $1.5 million for priorities of Gold’s choosing.

Kabourek noted that the economic headwinds facing the University of Nebraska and all of higher education have not gone away, and said the university community will need to continue to have conversations about priorities and resource allocation in order to “stay on offense.”

The board also approved the 2024-25 operating budget for the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. The tuition increase at NCTA amounts to $5 more per credit hour.

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