The Legislature's budget-writing committee on Thursday released its final recommendation for the 2019-21 state budget, including funding for the University of Nebraska that virtually matches the request NU submitted to policymakers last fall.
The budget package now heads to the full Legislature for consideration before a final budget is delivered to Gov. Pete Ricketts' desk. Legislative debate is scheduled to begin May 8 at 9 A.M.
NU President Hank Bounds, Ph.D., praised Appropriations Committee members, under the leadership of Chairman John Stinner of Scottsbluff and Vice Chairwoman Kate Bolz of Lincoln, for developing a forward-thinking budget that prioritizes education and economic growth.
The committee's budget funds NU's request for increases in state funding of 3% in 2019-20 and 3.7% in 2020-21 - not enough to meet all the university's needs, Bounds noted, but a critical investment in core areas of operations, utilities, salaries and health insurance.
"Chairman Stinner, Vice Chairwoman Bolz and the Appropriations Committee deserve a great deal of credit for their leadership in making affordable, quality higher education a priority for Nebraska," Dr. Bounds said. "The final budget by the committee will keep tuition affordable for 52,000 University of Nebraska students. It positions us to continue to address the urgent workforce challenges facing our state. And, it will help the university turn the corner after several difficult budget years.
"I'm grateful to the committee for its foresight in building on the positive first steps taken by Governor Ricketts, and I look forward to the full Legislature's consideration in the weeks ahead."
Dr. Bounds thanked the many university students, faculty and staff who have helped advocate for the university, through testimony or meetings with state senators, social media posts, and engagement in the University of Nebraska Advocates program. Stories shared by members of the university community about NU's work and impact have made a compelling case to policymakers about the vital role of higher education in individual and economic growth, he said.
Testimony from students, business leaders, the agricultural community and others at NU's March 4 Appropriations Committee hearing was especially powerful, Dr. Bounds said, as were the personal conversations that students and supporters had with senators at the university's annual "I Love NU" Advocacy Day on March 27.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.