The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will meet virtually on Friday to review NU’s operating budget, including $43 million in planned cuts over the next three years.
In addition to reviewing the budget, the regents will discuss Fund B University Program and Facilities Fees for each NU campus and designate additional financial measures to assist employees as a result of the coronavirus, among other agenda items.
NU President Ted Carter announced the three-year cuts on Friday and explained how the NU system plans to adapt to the expected shortfall brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-21 operating budget, which is up for approval by the regents, represents a three-year plan to address fiscal challenges, enrollment unpredictability and other uncertainties, according to the meeting agenda.
“A high degree of uncertainty will be part of the ‘new normal,’” the agenda said. “While a three-year budget plan is being used to be as strategic and thoughtful about cuts as possible, many future variables may impact our financial position.”
The budget plan would place NU in a position of strength for future growth and success, according to the agenda. However, a resurgence of the coronavirus, larger-than-projected enrollment declines or slow economic recovery could negatively impact the budget plan, while enrollment gains or a more rapid economic recovery could positively impact NU.
Tuition for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will increase for the next academic year by 2.75% for resident students and 3.75% for nonresident students, as previously approved by the regents in June 2019.
Undergraduate tuition rates will increase to $259 and $830 per credit hour for resident and nonresident students respectively, while graduate tuition rates will increase to $341 and $996 for resident and nonresident students respectively, according to the agenda.
Fund B UPFF fees cover staff salaries and operating costs for various student services and related maintenance for the facilities, according to the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska.
UNL’s Campus Recreation was the only Fund B UPFF fee user to request an increase in UPFF allocations — $35,000 — for fiscal year 2020-21. If approved by the regents, the increase would support funding for student sport clubs and rising facility maintenance costs, according to the agenda.
The addendum also states that, beginning in fall 2020, part-time student fees will increase to provide University Health Center access to all students.
Currently, students who take six credit hours or less do not have access to the health center unless they pay on a fee-for-service basis or elect to pay the student fee, according to the agenda. The agenda states it is essential that all students have access to proper health care and mental health services.
As a result of the changes in allocations, Fund B UPFF fees for part-time students who take six credit hours or less will increase by $128.14 to $479.37 each semester.
Fund B UPFF fees for full-time students who take seven credit hours or more will decrease by $6.42 to $590.86 each semester.
Carter is recommending an addendum that would expand application of NU’s Crisis Leave Sharing Policy to temporary employees and address needs related to the coronavirus. If approved by the regents, the policy change will become retroactively effective starting April 21, 2020.
The policy states that NU employees may donate a portion of their accrued vacation — up to five days — to an employee with a serious illness or to an employee caring for a family member with a serious illness. Pending approval, the policy would also extend to temporary employees and be made available for employees who must supervise their children due to school closures, as well as other needs.
Another addendum would allow Carter and his designees the authority to pursue actions that would aid NU finances without requiring the termination of critical employees. If approved, the proposed policy will clarify Carter’s authority to implement leave of absences, full-time equivalent reductions and salary reductions when significant financial constraints are present.
Despite economic challenges, Carter said during a news conference on June 19 that he remains cautiously optimistic about NU’s ability to grow and succeed post-COVID-19.
Audio for Friday’s Board of Regents meeting will be available to stream when it begins at 9 a.m.