LINCOLN–(KFOR June 13)–What’s being considered as a modest increase in tuition is part of the proposed $1.1-billion University of Nebraska system budget for 2024-25 should also close the system’s budget shortfall.

That’s according to interim University of Nebraska president Chris Kabourek.

He will present the budget proposal June 20 to the Nebraska Board of Regents. The tuition increase would be equal to $135 per semester, or $1.29 a day per UNL student, $1.14 per student at UNO and $1 a day per student at UNK. The budget also includes 3% merit-based salary increases for non-unionized faculty and staff. It would also include $1.5-million for expansion of the Presidential Scholars Program.

Meanwhile, the budget does include $12-million in permanent cuts across four campuses and the president’s office.

Below is a breakdown of the proposed budget, provided by the University of Nebraska.

Tuition

  • A modest tuition increase that amounts to an inflationary contribution for students. The increase equals $135 per semester for a Nebraska student attending UNL, or $1.29 per day. A UNO student would pay $120 more semester, and a UNK student would pay $105 more per semester. There will be no impact for students who receive the Nebraska Promise, NU’s financial aid program that guarantees full tuition coverage for Nebraska students with family incomes of $65,000 or less.

“As a first-generation student from rural Nebraska who relied on Pell Grants to pay for college, I don’t take any tuition increase lightly,” Kabourek said. “But we have ambitious goals for academic excellence, and it’s appropriate for all of us – the university, state and our students – to chip in to help get us where we want to go. Nebraska continues to offer what I believe is one of the best combinations of value and quality in the Big Ten and among all our peer groups.”

Spending Cuts

  • $11.8 million in permanent spending cuts to be identified in the upcoming fiscal year. These cuts, to be allocated across the four campuses and Office of the President, follow $30 million in cuts that have been made over the past two years.

  • No allocations for inflation. In other words, Kabourek said, just as Nebraska families are doing, university colleges and departments will be expected to reprioritize their spending to absorb inflationary increases.

Investments

  • $1.5 million to expand the Presidential Scholars Program to an annual cohort of 50 of Nebraska’s best and brightest students. Announced in February, the program provides a full cost of attendance scholarship, plus a $5,000 annual stipend, to Nebraska students who score a perfect 36 on the ACT. Already, 17 students have enrolled as part of the inaugural cohort of Presidential Scholars.

With additional funds, the university intends to create an application process for students who score a 32, 33, 34 or 35 on the ACT to compete for the scholarship, beginning next year. Students who score a 36 will continue to automatically qualify. Details on the application process for additional scholars are still to be determined.

  • $1.5 million for other priorities of President-Elect Gold’s choosing.

  • $15 million in state funding to support staffing and operations at the Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex on the UNK campus. The complex, whose second building is due for completion next year and occupancy in early 2026, will strengthen the health care workforce pipeline for rural Nebraska.

  • A 3 percent merit-based pool for salary increases for non-unionized faculty and staff. The increase will help the university recruit and retain talent in the highly competitive marketplace.