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NU Board of Regents, president discuss university budget cuts

"Absolutely going to impact staff and students"
Posted: 4:41 PM, Jan 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-26 01:04:47Z

The NU Board of Regents and President Hank Bounds met Thursday morning to discuss how the proposed cuts will impact the Nebraska University system. 

This comes after Gov. Pete Ricketts released his budget earlier this year cutting more than $11 million this year, and $23 million the following year.

Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer was frank when he addressed the board Thursday. 

"We are in trying times as far as the state is concerned financially," he said.

Scheer said while he knows the NU system will face major cuts, he understood the importance the University has on the success of the state of Nebraska. 

"We are an efficient organization," Bounds said. "Can we find more efficiencies? We're sure going to work hard."

Bounds also pointed out NU takes up roughly 13 percent of the overall state budget; however, it is shouldering 34 percent of the proposed cuts. 

Bounds said those cuts will make open positions go unfilled, affect academic programming, and increase student-teacher ratios: "Things that aren't good for quality, so I worry a little bit about the quality component if this continues."

One proposal Bounds suggested: raising tuition again. 

"We can't efficiency our way into another $23 million," he said.

That notion concerned some on the board.

"We cannot have our institutions for the lucky draw," Regent Jim Pillen said. 

"We can't get there with tuition increases, either that are tolerable in order to maintain our ability to deliver a education at a cost our families can afford,"  Regent Howard Hawks said. 

With these new set of cuts, Bounds said this will change how the university operates from here on out. 

"We'll get to a place where we have a new normal, but this is absolutely going to impact faculty, staff and students," he said.

The NU Board of Regents, along with Bounds, will meet with the legislative appropriations committee on Feb. 14.