University of Nebraska representatives defended an agreement reached with the governor to freeze tuition for the next two years during a hearing before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.
University of Nebraska Board of Regents Chairman Tim Clare said the board has done everything it can to keep costs down on each of the four campuses.
“In recent years, we have kept tuition increases moderate and predictable and we are proud that each of our campuses remains tremendous value compared with peer institutions,” Clare testified during the hearing held at the Capitol.
The University of Nebraska has four campuses: Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The university system reached agreement with Gov. Dave Heineman to freeze tuition the next two years in exchange for an increase in state appropriations of approximately 4.2% in the next two-year budget.
The preliminary budget released by the Appropriations Committee did not include the increase.
Clare told the committee a vital part of affordability is stable state funding.
University of Nebraska President J. B. Milliken told the committee he came to the university after a series of tuition hikes that averaged 5 ½%. Milliken said that, and five years of relatively flat state funding, had led him to a conclusion.
“That we do a bit of a reset now, and we provide those students and their families with a predictability, the ultimate predictability (of) zero increase, over the next couple of years,” Milliken said.
The university calculates that a tuition freeze for Nebraska students the next two years would save the average undergraduate $1,000 over the two years.