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NU President Carter asks for 2% funding increase

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 23:19:23-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — NU President Ted Carter asked the Appropriations Committee Tuesday for a two percent increase in funding next year.

“I wanted to come here and be as modest and conservative on our budget increase as possible,” said Carter.

The increase would be smaller than what the university has received in the last several years, with NU getting a 3% and 3.7% increase in the last two.

The 2% increase comes during a pandemic in which Carter says the university has $138 million in losses.

But he says it could be worse.

“Because we’ve done a good job and acted quickly, we’re not talking about losses in the 200, 300 to 400 million dollars as I've heard from some of our midwestern universities,” said Carter.

Carter said the CARES Act gave them about $51 million and if Congress passes the Biden relief plan, they get another $45 million.

But he still expects a gap of around $42 million.

For that, he said the university has made cuts by temporarily stopping salary raises and cutting the administration by 10 percent, among other things.

“We are rigorously holding ourselves to these cuts, in spite of positive enrollment news, a relatively bright fiscal picture for the state of Nebraska and an infusion of CARES Act funding that helps replace some of the dollars we lost early on,” said Carter.

He said another way to keep the university strong financially is upping enrollment.

The system had two percent increase this past year, and applications are up by over six percent this year, giving promise to increase the enrollment number yet again.

“You’ve got to focus on enrollment. So that’s why I need to grow the enrollment. If we’re not growing, we’re going backwards and we’re atrophying. That’s why I’m so proud of what we’ve done this year,” said Carter.

Finally, he looked into the future, saying the pandemic has brought to life what he thinks the college classrooms of the future will be like.

He says people still want to learn in-person, but there’s also room to expand online learning.

“Inside that classroom, there’s going to be multiple cameras, so you can bring anybody from any place. Think of another 1,000 students worldwide that are dialed into that class, taking it live,” said Carter.

President Carter also gave an update to the search of a new UNO Chancellor. He said he hopes to name a priority candidate by late March and have a person in that position by mid-summer.