University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken will recommend the approval of a 5 percent tuition increase for the 2008-09 school year, plus a 1 percent tuition assessment necessary to provide matching funds for NU building renovations authorized by the State Legislature. This is the last year of the required 1 percent increase for the LB 605 building program.
"We are committed to keeping tuition increases moderate and predictable, and this would be the fourth year in a row of tuition at this level or lower," Milliken said. "While we recognize that any tuition increase is unpopular, we are pleased that we continue to trail our peers in tuition costs. Affordable access to high quality education is our highest priority, and this increase allows us to balance our goals of providing both access and quality."
The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will consider the proposed operating budget and tuition rates for 2008-09 at its June 13 meeting. If approved, the university will have kept tuition increases for the past four consecutive years at 6 percent and lower, considerably less than the increases earlier in the decade. Also, if the new tuition levels are approved, UNL and UNK will have the second-lowest and lowest tuition rates, respectively, of all their peer institutions. Undergraduate, resident tuition at UNO, UNL and UNK is significantly below the average of each campus's peer institutions.
"Given the increased earning potential of college graduates," Milliken said, "the tuition at University of Nebraska campuses continues to be a very good investment. On average, college graduates earn about $15,000 a year more than high school graduates."
Milliken highlighted steps the University is taking to improve financial aid for Nebraska students.
The University is expanding the eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program – one of the first and most far-reaching such programs in the nation – and will now provide need-based financial aid to more middle class families. Currently the university ensures all tuition costs are covered for students whose families earn about $38,500 or less, and who meet eligibility requirements. Next school year TAP will cover tuition costs for families with an income of around $45,000 or less. The Board of Regents will be asked to budget funds to cover the expanded TAP program at the June meeting.
In addition, the University is on track to meet its goal of increasing private funds raised for financial aid, including the new Thompson Scholars Program announced in January providing both financial aid and academic support for Thompson Scholars.
More than 40 percent of University of Nebraska students receive some amount of financial aid.
If the proposed increase is enacted, a resident undergraduate student will pay $10.25 more per credit hour at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, $9.25 more per credit hour at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and $8.25 more per credit hour at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Resident students attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will pay $4.50 more per credit hour.
Tuition at two colleges will increase more than 6 percent. Resident tuition at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Pharmacy will increase by $4,000 a year to address educational needs and new nationwide accreditation requirements. Resident and nonresident tuition at the UNL Law School will increase $17 per credit hour – or about $500 more a year – to generate revenue for financial aid and faculty salaries. Current tuition rates at the Pharmacy and Law Schools trail far behind those of peer institutions. These increases will begin to get tuition closer to the market numbers and address needs at these professional schools, which will relieve some budgetary pressure on the rest of the institution.
Milliken also stressed that tuition on all campuses remains considerably below the average of their comparable peer campuses.
Estimated annual tuition for UNL will be $5,390 for 2008-09, compared to the peer average of $7,115.
Estimated annual tuition for UNO will be $4,920 for 2008-09, compared to the peer average of $5,438.
Estimated annual tuition for UNK will be $4,365 for 2008-09, compared to the peer average of $5,582.
Tuition Assistance Program Background Information