Gov. Dave Heineman said Monday that he will propose a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Nebraska and the state's other public colleges as part of his proposed budget plan
LINCOLN, NEB. (AP) - Gov. Dave Heineman said Monday that he will propose a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Nebraska and the state's other public colleges as part of his proposed budget plan.
Heineman's budget, which he'll unveil Jan. 15, would include a $43 million increase in state aid for the University of Nebraska in the 2015 fiscal year, which would peg the school's total annual state aid at $541 million. The Nebraska State College System would see a $4.1 million increase, which would raise total state aid to $49.6 million.
"In Nebraska, we understand that education is the great equalizer, and that's why it's a priority for me," Heineman said at a news conference. "Investing in education is important to Nebraska's future."
The agreement would apply to the University of Nebraska's four campuses the state colleges in Peru, Chadron and Wayne.
J.B. Milliken, the University of Nebraska's president, said the average undergraduate Nebraska resident will save about $1,000 during over two years. State aid to the university has remained flat over the last five years as the state economy improved, he said.
"Nonetheless, it's not a sustainable model if we're going to remain both competitive and affordable," Milliken said. "That's why this proposed compact is so important at this time. It represents a renewed commitment to state investment in the university and the state colleges, and acknowledges our shared responsibility for affordable access."
The state has held its university funding flat over the last few years, largely because of the economic downturn and a drop in state revenue. Heineman said he wants to increase the state's investment in university funding now that the state economy has improved.
Lawmakers will face a projected $194 million shortfall in their two-year budget this year, a far cry from the nearly $1 billion budget hole they faced two years ago.
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