Gov. Dave Heineman announced today an agreement reached with the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College systems.
“I am very pleased to announce that the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College System will be implementing a two-year tuition freeze for Nebraska students,” Heineman stated during a news conference in his Capitol office.
The governor has reached an agreement with both systems, freezing tuition for the next two years for Nebraska residents attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Chadron State, Wayne State and Peru State.
In exchange, the governor will propose to the legislature that state funding for the University of Nebraska system increase from $498 million to $541 million and that the state appropriation for the Nebraska State College System increase from $45.5 million to $49.6 million.
The legislative session begins Wednesday.
University of Nebraska President J. B. Milliken, attending the news conference with Gov. Heineman, said keeping state funding essentially flat would ultimately hurt the quality of the four-campus system.
“That’s why I’m pleased with this compact. That’s why I think this is an important step now when the governor and the legislature believe we are able to do this, to make this renewed commitment and pursue those two goals of competitiveness and affordability,” Milliken stated.
Nebraska State College System Chancellor Stan Carpenter said Chadron State, Wayne State and Peru State have attempted to keep tuition increases modest the past few years to maintain quality during a difficult economic time. Carpenter added a tuition freeze will give students a big break.
“It’s critically important for them, but it’s also critically important for those areas of the state that we serve, because as I’ve said before we serve and anchor rural Nebraska and those institutions are vital, both educationally, socially, culturally and economically to those areas,” according to Carpenter. “So, this will go a long way to assuring that we viable and vibrant and that our students can in fact graduate on time and with much less debt.”
Gov. Heineman and Milliken worked on the proposed compact the past several weeks. Once they completed their talks, Heineman contacted Carpenter who agreed to the deal.
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman holds news conference on tuition freeze announcement. [10 min.]