April 2012April 2012
Board of Regents
President Milliken expresses appreciation for success of Building a Healthier Nebraska
President James B. Milliken expressed his thanks to the many Nebraskans who played a key role in the success of the university’s 2012 legislative initiative, Building a Healthier Nebraska. The Legislature and Gov. Dave Heineman approved a state budget package that provides substantial support for a new cancer research tower at UNMC, a nursing and allied health facility at UNK, and a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Each project also requires a commitment of private or other funds.
Milliken thanked the Board of Regents, Speaker Mike Flood, Appropriations Committee Chairman Lavon Heidemann and the other committee members, the Legislature and Governor, the key sponsors of Building a Healthier Nebraska legislation – Sens. Galen Hadley, John Nelson, Tom Hansen and Tony Fulton – and, finally, the many Nebraskans who wrote, testified and spoke in favor of the projects over the past few months.
“I think in the 7 1/2 years I’ve been president of the university, I have not seen such a strong endorsement of a university initiative as I have this last year, with a wide variety of citizen, business and civic groups that supported this initiative,” Milliken said. “I think it’s a remarkable achievement and I want to express my appreciation to everyone who was involved. Now it’s time for us to get to work and make these projects a success.”
Differential tuition for UNL College of Architecture proposed
Chancellor Harvey Perlman presented to the Board a proposal to implement differentiated tuition rates in the UNL College of Architecture. The new rates would increase tuition for architecture courses by an additional 25 percent, which equals $52 per credit hour for resident undergraduates and $69 per credit hour for resident graduate students. Perlman estimated resident undergraduates would pay about $1,140 more per year.
The differentiated tuition would generate more than $435,000 in new revenue, Perlman said. The funds would help cover higher instructional costs in the college, technology, additional advisory and student services and other expenses.
Even with the differential, UNL architecture costs still would rank at or near the bottom of its peer group for undergraduate and graduate resident and non-resident students. For example, tuition for resident undergraduates would remain the lowest among the Big Ten institutions with architecture colleges.
The proposal likely will be part of the overall 2012-13 operating budget that the Board will consider in June. Differentiated tuition rates were approved last year in the UNL colleges of business and engineering; enrollment in both of those colleges has gone up.
Report from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents: April 2012
NU tuition remains well below peer averages
Tuition and fees at the University of Nebraska’s four campuses remain significantly below the peer averages, members of the Board of Regents learned during a budget briefing at their April meeting.
At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, resident rates in allied health, nursing, dentistry, medicine and pharmacy all are below the peer averages as well.
The university is committed to moderate, predictable tuition increases that help students and families plan for the cost of college. Over the past seven years, tuition increases have averaged less than 5.5 percent.
However, tuition is one of only two primary sources that comprise the budget available for the university’s general operations. The other source is state appropriations. NU has experienced essentially flat state funding for five years; the university has been able to keep tuition increases moderate by implementing millions of dollars’ worth of budget reallocations. Cuts have included program and personnel eliminations, reduction of services and others.
In 1984, the University of Nebraska made up 21.2 percent of the state budget. Today, the university is 13.9 percent of the state budget.
Flat state funding also limits the university’s flexibility to award salary increases. Board of Regents metrics call for average faculty salaries to meet or exceed the peer midpoint. Faculty salaries at UNL represent about 94 percent of the peer average – about the same as in recent years but still short of the Board’s goal. UNMC faculty salaries are about 92 percent of the peer average, also short of the goal. Early indications from the university’s peers indicate that market salary increases will range from 0 to 3 percent, Kabourek said.
The Board will consider both the university’s 2012-13 operating budget, including tuition rates and salary increases, and the 2013-15 biennial budget request at its June 8 meeting. NU’s strategic framework will continue to guide university planning. Major initiatives include Building a Healthier Nebraska, Innovation Campus, global engagement, Collegebound Nebraska and goals for enrollment and research growth.
Growth continues at Online Worldwide
University of Nebraska students generated nearly 109,000 credit hours via distance education in 2010-11, the Board of Regents learned – a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
Almost 18,000 NU students took at least one course online that year, according to Mary Niemiec, associate vice president for distance education and director of Online Worldwide, the university’s distance education platform. That’s roughly one-third of the total NU student body, putting the university in line with national trends, Niemiec said.
Online Worldwide now offers more than 100 degree, certificate and endorsement programs in a range of fields, including agriculture, education, engineering, business, health professions and more. Online Worldwide aims to advance the university’s highest priority: affordable access to quality education.
About one-third of students enrolled in NU distance education courses were “distance-only” students – meaning they did not also take a course on one of NU’s physical campuses. The university hopes to grow this number as it reaches more Nebraskans and others who are not in a position to attend a brick-and-mortar campus because of job or family obligations, Niemiec said.
The marketing strategy for Online Worldwide will focus on key audiences including military members, educators, degree completers and others. About 289,000 Nebraskans have completed some college credit but do not have a degree. In addition, the university will work to build the Online Worldwide brand in regional, national and international markets as well as within Nebraska.
During its April meeting, the Board of Regents: