The pain of a nearly one-billion dollar budget deficit, in Nebraska is about to hit higher education.
On Friday, NU President Hank Bounds sounded the alarm. Students who go to UNL, UNO, UNK and UNMC will be affected.
Job loses and tuition increases could be in the plans for NU as it tries to find out how to fill a 58-million dollar shortfall.
Bounds created a budget response team divided into 10 task forces and proposed his budget strategy going forward , which includes a tuition hike.
“Tuition will have to go up, there's no math equation that we can build that will get us to 58-million,” said Bounds.
The University of Nebraska operates on a $945-million dollar budget. Around 60-percent from taxpayers-about 35-percent from tuition.
“We'll look under every rock and behind every tree and look at every dollar we spend,” said NU Regent Hal Daub.
Daub says there's no sugarcoating how big of a cut this is-and there's no easy option to fill it. He said the gap can be closed by a combination of three ways; state money, a potential tuition increase, and spending cuts.
Daub says more than 80-percent of NU's budget is employment salary-fixed labor costs.
“When you start cutting people, then you are cutting programs, and when you are cutting program and teaching it's very hard to get that back,” said Daub.
Some students on UNO’s campus see what current students think about cost-cutting measures. Some don't want to see programs cut, such as arts.
‘When you have these programs that are already lacking and you cut further, what opportunities are there?” said Cal Irons.
And International students say they already pay enough tuition.
“It is really high for us,” said Yuqi Kang.
The bottom line for Daub is to keep the university's education affordable and competitive.
“We're going to make every effort to do it,” said Daub.
By the time the legislature finalizes a budget in May, NU only has one month after that to get its budget done by July 1st.