University of Nebraska officials hope budget cuts will help the four-campus system cope with fewer dollars flowing from the state without demanding too much more from its students.
University of Nebraska system President Hank Bounds says the challenge is stark.
“We have a $49 million budget challenge to address over the course of the next biennium,” Bounds tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A reduction in state funding by the Unicameral combined with an increase in costs have created the $49 million budget shortfall, according to Bounds.
He and chancellors from the various NU campuses have announced changes designed to close the budget gap.
Bounds says virtually every employee will be impacted.
Special teams on each campus made various suggestions to the chancellors and Bounds; some adopted, others rejected, a few put on hold.
Bounds says the changes will create standardization among the campuses and drive out duplication. An example is IT. Five IT systems will be merged into one to serve all campuses. Administrative duties, once localized, will be standardized across the system.
Personnel will be reduced. As many as 100 positions will be eliminated, through attrition when possible.
Other savings will come from consolidating printing and copying, financial operations, and public relations and marketing.
Permanent savings to the budget should total $30 million.
Bounds says he hopes to hold the line on tuition hikes to the already approved 5.4% increase this year and the 3.2% increase next year.
“We’ll have to carefully manage to be able to keep it there,” Bounds says. “If we see additional cuts we may have to go back to the tuition well, but we are obviously going to do everything that we can to keep that from happening.”
Bounds says the university will work to protect affordability and academic integrity. Bounds points out that while the University of Nebraska system has fewer employees than it did in 2000, it has increased enrollment on its campuses and an increase in research.
More budget cuts could be announced next year.
Details on the budget cuts announced today can be found at www.nebraska.edu/BRT.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]