Gov. Dave Heineman announced Monday that he has joined the University of Nebraska and Nebraska State College System in a proposed compact that would help ensure continued affordable access to higher education for Nebraska students and families.
“In Nebraska, we understand that education is the great equalizer and that’s why education is a priority for me,” said Gov. Heineman. “Investing in education is important to Nebraska’s future. It is also critical that our post-secondary institutions manage their resources efficiently to control their costs.”
Under the agreement, Gov. Heineman’s proposed two-year budget includes the funding that would be necessary for the university and state colleges to freeze tuition for Nebraska students for two years. The Governor is recommending that the University of Nebraska’s state appropriations increase from its current level of $498 million to $541 million in fiscal year 2015, and that the Nebraska State College System’s funding increase from $45.5 million to $49.6 million in fiscal year 2015.
If the Legislature agrees to the Governor’s funding recommendations, the university and state colleges have agreed that they will freeze tuition for Nebraska students attending UNL, UNK, UNO, UNMC, Chadron State, Wayne State and Peru State for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken said: “I want to thank Governor Heineman for his commitment to investing in higher education in Nebraska. State support is crucial to sustaining the priorities of a great University of Nebraska system – including affordable access to high-quality education. The investment recommended by the Governor will put us in a strong position to continue to serve Nebraskans, and I am grateful for his leadership in recognizing the important role higher education plays in economic competitiveness. I look forward to discussing the affordability compact with members of the Legislature and others.”
For several weeks, Gov. Heineman and President Milliken have been working to develop the affordability compact proposal. Once details were completed, Gov. Heineman contacted Chancellor Carpenter about a similar compact at Nebraska’s state colleges. Chancellor Carpenter agreed.
“I readily agreed with the idea of a compact that would provide the NSCS with an appropriation level that would allow us to freeze tuition,” said Chancellor Carpenter. “It is good for our students; it is good for our colleges; and it is good for Nebraska. Our student body at the State Colleges will save over $1 million the first year when compared to an average tuition increase. Students can graduate on time with less debt. This compact with the State is an important step in assuring that our three colleges can continue to provide thousands of opportunities.”
In 2009, Nebraska reorganized its preschool through college (P-16) initiative to strengthen the education that we provide to Nebraska students. One of the goals of the P-16 Initiative is to provide affordable access for Nebraska students to attend Nebraska’s post-secondary institutions.