University of Nebraska administrators are bracing for funding cuts in the next two-year state budget.
With a revised state revenue forecast showing a likely budget shortfall, cuts to higher education are likely says University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds.
“If the numbers come back in the way that the governor and other legislators have mentioned to me, then it will obviously require more of a belt-tightening,” Bounds tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The university system is under a freeze on hiring and travel in an effort to save money in the current budget year.
Bounds says more belt tightening is likely.
“We’ll have to look at all areas of the university,” he says. “We’ll have to be really smart about how we find efficiencies. We’ll have to be smart about how we make cuts.”
Bounds says they will also have to carefully consider revenue enhancements.
Options for raising money for higher education include tax dollars from the state and tuition and fees from students.
“We don’t know whether – you know – what the cut will look like yet,” Bounds says. “We don’t know what the next two years of appropriation will look like. We anticipate, based on our conversations with state leadership, that the picture won’t be pretty.”
Bounds says he is having weekly conversations with legislators and the governor on the budget and continues to remind them that the university is the economic development engine for the state.
“It’s important that the state is careful about what types of cuts come our way. It’s important that we carefully manage those cuts,” Bounds says. “If we aren’t smart, then we can have a negative impact on the state’s economy.”
Bounds says it is critical to protect the academic integrity of the university and not slow any momentum in ground-breaking research.
Lawmakers will craft a new state budget in the spring.