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University of Nebraska President Ted Carter and the chancellors of each University of Nebraska campus detailed the university’s new budget planning and financial challenges in an email sent out to students, faculty and staff Tuesday morning.

Carter, University of Nebraska-Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen have been meeting regularly to discuss fiscal planning. The immediate steps that have been taken across the University of Nebraska are a hiring freeze, reduced spending by 3 percent in the final quarter by each campus, limiting travel and major purchases and reviewing all capital construction projects to determine if any can be delayed.

“Each of these steps is designed to preserve as much cash as possible in the short term to help us address the challenges ahead,” they said in the email.

The email said that COVID-19 will impact the University in a multitude of ways, including that unexpected costs and revenue losses tied to coronavirus will cause major budgetary challenges to the university.  Although the email acknowledged that there are many unknown variables at this point, they estimated that various refunds, cancellations and healthcare costs “will result in a shortfall of at least $50 million this fiscal year.”

Despite the hardships that are being faced, there is good news, according to the email. 

“We have been diligent and proactive in our planning,” the email said. “The greater fiscal restraint we can show now, the better we will be able to manage future uncertainty.”

Also, the recently passed federal CARES Act will provide some relief for university students and the campuses. The university is making sure that education will become even more accessible for current and future students. The university is currently working on several affordability initiatives that it is planning to announce in the near future.  

Lastly, the email said even though the world has changed tremendously, the work that the students, staff and faculty put in every day will lead to the success of the University of Nebraska.

“Our promise to students and families is that there is no better place to be a student than here in Nebraska,” the email said.

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