Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Education Finance, Volume 45, Number 3, Winter 2020, pp. 333-335.
The majority of states now fund public universities from tuition rather than state funds and for now, Nebraska is in the minority. According to a recent article in the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska may join the majority in the next 10 years for the Nebraska University (NU) system, the state college system, and community colleges where tuition is a main funding source (Dunker, 2019). Outgoing NU President Hank Bounds reported that it is inevitable that tuition will surpass state resources unless there are changes to the current tax structure. According to budget records, the amount of state support to the NU’s system has decreased 9% in the past 10 years.
The state college system and community colleges have also realized a decrease in state funding over the since the last recession. Community colleges can assess a property tax where the state colleges and NU system cannot. The tuition at community colleges has decreased as property taxes have increased to offset a tuition increase and loss of state funding.
Some concerns may also exist with greater reliance on funding sources such as tuition. The NU system saw a decrease in enrollment at three of the four campuses for fall 2019. The state college system also saw an overall decrease in enrollment from two of the three campuses (Ruggles, 2019).