University of Nebraska system braces for major cuts

November 8, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Some University of Nebraska administrators are anticipating significant changes beyond those identified this fall by budget response teams.

The university system and its campuses are seeking to close a deficit of more than $50 million caused by higher costs and decreasing state funding, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

System officials said the Lincoln and Kearney campuses, in particular, are preparing for bad news.

“I can tell you that everything’s on the table,” said Jon Watts, vice chancellor for business and finance at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. “I describe this as a historic reduction at our campus.”

Watts said his university is dealing with $2 million in across-the-board, one-time cuts through a hiring freeze, and savings on travel and equipment purchases. But the university is in the midst of a $3.4 million permanent reduction as well, which will affect faculty.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we preserve the academic core,” Watts said. “I do think UNK will look significantly different. ... We will have less employees. Some of those will be staff, and some will be faculty.”

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s chancellor, Ronnie Green, expects to make up to $8.5 million in cuts in the coming months. Proposals will go to the Academic Planning Committee Nov. 15 and Dec. 6. Cuts will go into effect in mid-2018.

People and academic programs will be affected, but the process must play out before details come up, said Steve Smith, spokesman for the Lincoln campus.

Many of the cuts on the campuses are beyond the savings and efficiencies found this year by the system’s 10 budget response teams. System President Hank Bounds set up the teams early this year to cut costs and find better ways to conduct business.

They include reducing marketing expenditures, cutting energy use, eliminating cellphone stipends, slashing mileage reimbursement and reorganizing many services and programs. About 70 of their recommendations are being implemented across the system.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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