University of Nebraska President J. B. Milliken is pleased with action by the legislative Appropriations Committee to budget the amount needed for the university to hold tuition steady on its four campuses for the next two years.
University officials reached agreement with Gov. Dave Heineman earlier; higher state funding in exchange for a freeze on tuition.
“We thought this was a really good time for us to send a message to Nebraskans that come to the University of Nebraska; the tuition will stay the same over the next couple of years,” Milliken tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
The governor agreed to propose a 4.2% increase in state appropriations in exchange for a promise to freeze tuition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Nebraska-Kearney and the University of Nebraska Medical Center for the next two years.
At first, the Appropriations Committee balked. It initially proposed a $36 million increase for the four-campus system, far short of the agreement reached with the governor. It since has adjusted the recommended amount to total $60.5 million, a 4% increase in state funding in the two-year budget lawmakers will consider this session.
Milliken says it is the right time to keep tuition at current rates.
“We’re relatively low in terms of tuition, but at the same time there has been a tough economy for a number of years and families are looking to make ends meet,” according to Milliken.
The university also plans to build a new nursing facility on the Lincoln campus. The Appropriations Committee has budgeted $12 million toward its construction. The cost is expected to total $17 million. University officials say the additional $5 million will be raised through a private fundraiser.
The nursing facility has been the university’s top capital priority for years. It is part of the university’s Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.