Administrators, students plead for alternative to NU budget cuts
Seth Marshall, a junior at UNL, is one of the first in his family to go to college. He pays out of pocket for his education, and says an increase might be too much for him to bear.
For more than four hours, a group ranging from students to University of Nebraska President Hank bounds shared why proposed budget cuts to the NU campuses would hurt not just them, but the state as a whole.
It came during a Wednesday hearing in front of the Appropriations Committee, who will decide whether or not to approve the cuts as part of Governor Pete Ricketts' proposed tax plan.
Under the plan, NU administrators would have to trim more than $11 million from the budget this year and $23 million in 2019.
"It puts us in survival mode as opposed to looking towards the future," NU President Hank Bounds said.
If no solution is found, Bounds says several programs would have to be eliminated - including geography, electronics engineering and art history at UNL - affecting over 200 students and faculty.
"The message that we're sending here is akin to putting 'For Sale' signs in faculty members' yards," Bounds said.
A fear for many is that students will ultimately be forced to shoulder the burden in the form of increased tuition.
UNL already increased tuition rates 5.4% this year, with an increase of 3.2% planned for next year - which Bounds says could be even higher if things proceed the way they are.
Seth Marshall, a junior at UNL, is one of the first in his family to go to college.
He pays out of pocket for his education, and says an increase might be too much for him to bear.
"If these go through, I probably won't be able to finish my education at UNL," Marshall said.
"And that would really just be the end of my days."
NU officials say they've made the budget as lean as possible, and that cuts will only get worse from here on.
Any budget decisions lawmakers make will be reviewed by the Academic Planning Committee and would likely come in March.