Regents to consider budget proposal

Jun 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus News, Issue, June 11, 2009

Plan outlines lowest tuition increase in last decade, $3.7 M cut in UNL budget

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will consider the university’s 2009-2010 operating budget during a June 12 meeting.

The budget details – released by NU President James B. Milliken on June 5 – include a 1.5 percent salary pool to fund faculty and staff salary increases, funding to cover a projected increase in health insurance premiums, a 4 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, and an NU system budget shortfall of $8.5 million.

Milliken expressed optimism for the university despite current economic conditions.

“Nebraska’s economy, despite the many challenges we face, is in better shape than that of many other states,” Milliken said. “Also, the management of both the state and the university in recent years has put us in a strong position relative to other states and the university’s peer institutions.

“Our ability to invest in the quality of the university can give the University of Nebraska a competitive advantage at a time when almost all other states are making deeper cuts and have less ability to capitalize on opportunities.”

The $8.5 million budget shortfall will be divided between the four NU campuses. UNL’s portion of the deficit is projected at $3.7 million, or 1.1 percent of the campus budget. Other campus portions are: $2.2 million to UNO; $1.7 million to UNMC; and $800,000 to UNK.

Milliken said the NU campuses have employed cost-savings measures in the last six months that have resulted in savings of approximately $7 million. Those measures include not filling positions, deferring maintenance, reducing expenditures (primarily in travel), and cutting purchases.

In a May 28 e-mail to campus, UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said he plans to notify campus “as soon as possible” about recommended cuts to cover UNL’s portion of the shortfall. The announcement will come after the Regents’ final adoption of the budget.

The 1.5 percent salary pool will not be used for across-the-board increases. Instead it will be used to give raises based on merit and competitiveness. For more information, see Perlman’s “Verbatim” column on page 7.

Other budget highlights include:

• Along with covering projected health insurance premium increases, NU will offer a new life insurance benefit equal to one year’s salary, up to $120,000. Benefits increases go into effect Jan. 1, 2010.

• The 4 percent tuition increase is the lowest increase in more than a decade, and the second lowest in more than 20 years. Full-time resident undergraduate students carrying 15 credit hours will pay about $150 to $200 more per year under the proposal.

• A 4 percent increase in financial aid, including the Collegebound Nebraska program. The increase means students with the greatest financial need will not be affected by the tuition increase.

• A $1.2 million student assistance fund to provide for unexpected financial circumstances during the school year.

• A $3 million investment in academic programs of excellence. These one-time funds will be used strategically by Milliken to strengthen key areas of the university.

• A $10.3 million expenditure to complete the universitywide student information system. The cost is covered by the state through the LB 1100 building initiative.

• Continued investment in LB 605 facilities renovation and construction projects across the university system.

A complete agenda for the June 12 Board of Regents meeting in Varner Hall is available online at The full discussion on the budget is scheduled for approximately 9:30 a.m. Committee meetings begin at 8:30 a.m., with the Regents’ board meeting starting at 1 p.m.

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