Thursday morning, Nebraska Universities President Ted Carter revealed a five-year plan and immediate actions to combat the NU system’s projected $58 million shortfall for the 2024-25 fiscal year.
In May, the Nebraska Board of Regents asked for greater measures than a horizontal “peanut butter” cut. Such a cut typically places a proportional shortfall on each individual university leaving administrators to try and make ends meet on a tighter budget.
“We cannot continue status quo, we cannot cut our way to prosperity,” said Carter. “We’ve got to look at our operations and be critical of what we’re doing, and come out stronger and leaner.”
Tuition on all campuses will be raised an average of 3.5% for the 2023-24 school year. For a UNO student that equates to roughly $240 more a year. This is the first time tuition has been raised since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes to keep admission as accessible as possible.
“A tuition increase is never going to be easy. We understand that’s the reality of the inflationary environment that we live in, not getting necessarily the best allocation from the unicameral,” said UNO Student Body President/Regent Hakim Lotoro.
Effective July 1, hiring for all non-faculty positions will be frozen and vacant administrative positions may only be filled with permission from the office of the president and departmental operating and supply budgets face a temporary 2.5% quarterly reduction.
Greater changes seem to be on the horizon with Carter proposing his five-step plan to satisfy budget woes and the board of regents.
The points are as follows, with brief summaries added:
- A reinvigorated focus on student recruitment
More ambassadors “blanketing the state” to make sure every high school student is informed about NU.
- A renewed commitment to raising the University of Nebraska’s academic profile
Aligning UNL and UNMC’s research divisions together to rise in the ranks as a greater research institution. Carter wants those entities to be able to rejoin the Association of American Universities, a prestigious research coalition.
- A more proactive process for reviewing the university’s range of academic programs
More frequent academic reviews to spot gaps in education.
- New strategies for communication and transparency around budget planning
Creation of a “University Council” to openly discuss and suggest budget solutions.
- A focus on operational excellence
Further unification of NU system processes in order to trim excessive costs from items such as payroll, accounting, budget, compliance, benefits, human resources, government relations, and public relations and communications.
The exact details will most certainly change as the budget plan develops.
“I think that there is going to be a lot of emphasis on collaboration between campuses and their different academic programs to better suit the needs of the different bodies,” said Lotoro.
During the meeting, Rodney D. Bennet was appointed as the newest chancellor of UNL, and alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium were approved for the sold-out “Volleyball Day in Nebraska” the regular season volleyball match pitching UNL versus UNO on Aug. 30.