An update to how the University of Nebraska allocates state funding to each of its four campuses will mean a $12.5 million reduction to UNL’s base budget beginning next year.

Since the 1990s, NU distributed its state appropriations and tuition revenue — referred to together as its state-aided budget — to the campuses based on share of salary costs, meaning UNL received about 49 percent of the nearly $951 million budget this year.

President Hank Bounds, the campus chancellors and members of the Board of Regents worked with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems for more than a year to develop a new model for allocating funding to the campuses.

Beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year, NU will allocate its resources based on student credit hours, adding weight to programs that are more expensive to deliver, such as master’s programs and courses in engineering and medicine.

That means UNL will see a 0.5 percent reduction in its annual slice of the pie, with some of the $12.5 million in funds reallocated to UNO and UNK.

UNL will continue to receive the most funding across the university system on a per-student basis, but UNO “will have additional resources to utilize on its campus,” NU officials said.

According to a budget document provided by NU, the changes include:

* $12.5 million less to UNL

* $6 million more to UNO

* $2.8 million more to UNK

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* $1.6 million less to UNMC

The changes won’t go into effect until the next budget year, “in order to give all campuses a year to prepare,” Bounds wrote to chancellors in July.

Furthermore, the changes to the allocation model won’t affect NU’s ongoing efforts to cut $30 million from its budget over the next biennium.

Bounds added that no budget model is perfect, but the new model “represents our best thinking for a reasonable and equitable approach.”

“The modest change in our funding model will more equitably distribute resources based on student credit hour production and put us in the best possible position to ensure that all University of Nebraska students receive a high-quality education,” he wrote.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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