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Budget cuts will mean higher costs: Tuition, fees, room and board may be adjusted in fall 2011
Erik Dodge
Antelope Staff
Photo by Debbie Epping
I doubt very seriously that you could see more than a 6 percent tuition increase said Barbara Johnson, vice chancellor of business and finance. Tuition rates, student fees and room and board have already been set for the year, but Chancellor Kristensen said the budget will be reviewed in June and students costs will be adjusted accordingly.

The proposed $1.4 million budget cut will not have noticeable effects for students, at least not yet, according to Chancellor Doug Kristensen.

However, fewer university employees will be noticeable, and students will also likely see higher costs next fall to offset continuing budget problems.

“We’re going to get smaller as a university in terms of numbers of people who are working here,” Kristensen said. Positions for approximately eight full-time employees were cut or merged according to the proposed plan.

This does not mean every class will get larger, but budget cuts will affect the classroom. “Some classes will be taught by adjuncts as opposed to a full-time professor,” Kristensen said.

Tuition rates, student fees and room and board have already been set for the year but can be adjusted for next fall. “You can bet next June we’ll be reviewing in future budgets what tuition should be and what fees and room and board should be,” he said.

Vice chancellor of business and finance Barbara Johnson assessed the potential tuition increase.

“I doubt very seriously that you could see more than a 6 percent tuition increase,” she said. She acknowledged past increases but says large increases do not have support. “That’s not to say that historically we haven’t had double digit increases in tuition, but that is not something our board, nor the president of our system, nor the chancellors of our system would support,” Johnson said.

The budget woes have been created by negative state revenue growth reflected in diminished funds to the university system.

The NU system budget has dropped from 21.3 percent of the state budget in 1986 to 14.5 percent in 2011. Tuition made up only 11 percent of the 2010-2011 Nebraska University budget, according to a presentation by NU director of budget Chris Kabourek.

Approximately 23 percent of the budget comes from state appropriations. Nebraska’s state revenue growth was negative 4.4 percent in 2009 and negative 4.8 percent in 2010.

Proposed budget cuts did not eliminate any programs such as majors or courses according to Kristensen, but this may not be the case for future cuts. He said there will be pressure to eliminate smaller programs and those that are considered less efficient. “There will be pushes to eliminate those, but we have done everything we can to avoid impact on students in terms of opportunities. I hope we can continue to do that in the future.”

Past UNK cuts have eliminated the mathematics Master of Science program and statistic and actuarial sciences majors according to Kabourek’s presentation.

Course offerings were also cut in adaptive PE, German, music, chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, sociology, management/marketing, education, communication disorders, e-campus and summer school.

The podcast of the budget presentation by Dr. David Lechner, University of Nebraska Vice President for Business and Finance, may be accessed at 
http://podcasts.unk.edu/groups/chancellorsoffice/blog/.


Reporter Kevin Ward
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