NU Board of Regents approves 2014-2015 budget

By: Lauren Fabrizi

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has approved the 2014-2015 operating budget.

A 3.5 percent increase was approved, bringing the total budget to $2.45 billion. For the second year in a row, in-state students will see a freeze in tuition rates thanks to an “affordability compact” with the Nebraska Legislature.

“The best way to continue to make education affordable and accessible in Nebraska is to keep our tuition as low as possible,” Chris Kabourek, the NU director of budgeting & planning, said.

Out–of–state students will see a 3 percent increase in tuition. Kabourek said similar universities are also increasing their tuition by about 3 percent.

“We certainly want to be consistent with the market, so we can compete for talent and students,” he said.

The budget faced opposition from only one regent. Rob Schaefer said while he’s in favor of a number of things in the budget, he said it’s not quite balanced yet, even though that’s the goal.

“We need to cut spending by about $2 million to balance the budget and reallocate some dollars, and we should be in good shape.” Schaefer said. “And I have full faith the administration can do that.”

There are a number of other investments in the budget including a 3 percent increase to the salary pool for faculty and staff.

Other investments include:
-nearly $1.3 million to support the work of the Buffet Early Childhood Institute
-$500,000 for personal needs for the Health Science Complex
-$500,000 to support personal and programmatic needs of the Rural Futures Institute
-$2.5 million toward the university’s Programs of Excellence