UNK Officials and Students React to Tuition Freeze Proposal

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News of a possible tuition freeze made the first day back for spring semester at University of Nebraska-Kearney a whole lot better for some.

"It's been a point of discussion inside the university for some time, but clearly, today's a good day because the governor has embraced this. I think we've worked out an agreement with the governor," said UNK Chancellor Douglas Kristensen.

University officials applauded Governor Dave Heineman's proposal to freeze in-state tuition for two years Monday.

"For the student who's looking at 'I'm just getting by financially, do I work a few more hours?,' this will probably let them work less and spend more time on graduation, which means they graduate a little sooner, which means they don't have as much debt, which means they'll be out earning money sooner," Kristensen said.

Educators say it's a matter of investing in Nebraska's human capital.

"The state realizes that if the new jobs are going to be created in the state of Nebraska, two-thirds of them will require higher education and so we've got to make higher education accessible," said Kristensen.

The governor's proposal includes a $43-million increase in state aid for the University of Nebraska and a $4.1-million increase for the Nebraska State College System.

Savings are estimated to be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 per student over the course of two years, depending on the school. But students say, no matter what the amount is, it's going to be beneficial.

"I think that's great just because now it's so hard to get a job nowadays without a college degree, that helping students by not raising tuition, it may increase the numbers of people coming to school and help out the people that are still in school," said UNK student McKahla Smith.

"It's not going to be a lot but it's going to be a little more stable knowing what's coming up so I can continue my education," added Dru Sauer, also a UNK student.

Though it's still just a proposal, some students already know how they would spend their savings.

"There's so much you could do with it. It could go for bills, pay off your student loans, a little bit of extra spending cash so you don't feel as stressed as you do now," said Smith.