The tentative tuition benchmarks established by the Board today for fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08 assumed a continuing level of state general fund support and a number of assumptions about cost increases. While the Board acknowledged that a number of the assumptions were not under its control, it expressed a strong commitment to managing costs and operating efficiently.
The University of Nebraska is faced with a significant challenge: maintaining an affordable cost of attendance in the face of rising utility and health care costs, inflation, the need to recruit and retain excellent faculty at competitive salaries, and the need to invest in building quality academic programs. Today, the Board and University administration agreed that tuition should not increase more than 9 percent and 8 percent for FY 2006-07 and FY 2007-08 respectively.
"These tuition figures are targets, and they give us a context in which to plan for the university’s financial future," said Howard Hawks, Board chairman. "We hope to hold tuition at or below these targets, but realistically we may need to revisit them over time."
For several months, the Board and University administration have been developing a Strategic Framework that will guide university-wide and campus planning for the next several years. The framework consists of six overarching goals emphasizing access and affordability, quality programs, workforce and economic development, research growth, engagement with the state, and accountability. Each goal has a number of related objectives and strategies which will be prioritized for university-wide monitoring over a multi-year period. At its planning session today, the Board established the tuition targets, as well as benchmarks for aggressive growth in federal research funding and for steady increases in enrollment.
The Strategic Framework is the result of ongoing discussions between members of the Board, the president, chancellors, and other members of the university administration. Input has been sought from faculty, staff, students, political leaders, business and agricultural groups, the University of Nebraska Foundation, and other constituencies. The framework is available on the University of Nebraska’s Web site at http://www.nebraska.edu/strategic-framework.html.