January 3, 2023 marked the beginning of the 108th Legislature for the State of Nebraska. State senators are convened at the Capitol, where they will address key issues and set the state budget for the next two years.
The budget is particularly important because the University of Nebraska’s operating budget relies largely on state support and tuition. Of the nearly $3 billion dollars it takes to run the university system—from football to bookstores, research expenditures to named chairs—two-thirds go to support self-funded initiatives, such as athletics and dorms, or are restricted dollars, such as University of Nebraska Foundation gifts for buildings and scholarships—or federal research grants.
The other third of those dollars are operating costs.
The nearly $1 billion system operating budget supports paying university faculty and staff and keeping the lights on. 62 percent is funded by the state; the difference is funded primarily by tuition. Strong state support helps keep tuition low, making college affordable for Nebraskans.
The arc of this year’s legislative session has moved through bill introduction and hearings in January, committee hearings and floor debate on bills in February and March, and floor debate and preliminary budget in April. In May, floor debate continues—including around the final state budget—and June brings any veto overrides and the end of session.
To help support a strong future for the University of Nebraska, it’s more important than ever to write or email your state senator and tell them how your University has made a difference in your life. You can also become a member of the NU Advocates, a group of people who are amplifying the conversation around making an investment in the University of Nebraska, at nebraska.edu/advocates. And you are invited to register to join our February virtual briefing on Monday, February 20th at 11:30 a.m. CST at bit.ly/advocatesbriefing.
Together, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the Nebraska Legislature that Nebraskans believe in our university's ability to address major challenges facing our state—and grow our workforce for the future.