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The Antelope

Chancellor warns of coming budget cuts

Students, faculty and staff await news on budget cut impacts. Photo by Jenna Heinz / Antelope Staff

UNK Chancellor, Douglas Kristensen, held a forum on Thursday to address the budget reductions coming to campus. UNK faculty, staff and students were invited to attend.

UNK officials are now estimating a $4.3 million shortfall for 2023-24 due to a decline in multiple sources of revenue, especially enrollment.

“That’s more than a third of our budget,” Kristensen said. “Maybe anywhere from a third to 40% of our budget is student tuition.”

The previously reported $5.4 million shortfall is for the next academic year.

Kristensen said UNK is the lowest remitting campus in the University of Nebraska system. Remission is the reduction in the amount of tuition that a student pays.

“We’re probably remitting somewhere in the neighborhood of 24% of our tuition dollars,” Kristensen said. “Other campuses are bumping up against 50%.”

UNK received roughly $47 million from the state in revenue; additional cash revenue brought UNK’s 2023-24 revenue to $75,505,695. Total expenses come out to $79,821,142.

UNK is also facing challenges with wages and inflation, muted revenue growth and tuition remissions.

Short-term measures have been put into effect at UNK to help mitigate the budget deficit. 

“We expanded the hiring freeze to the faculty positions,” Kristensen said. “It is a temporary measure to get us through this year.”

As of Sept. 1, 70 full-time positions and 156 partial positions had been frozen.

Kristensen said that a lot of people will be affected by the hiring freeze and that most of the freeze requests have been denied. He also said that the hiring freeze is not strategic and is not meant to be a long-term solution.

In addition, long-term goals have been set at UNK, including forming a faculty advisory committee. A budget advisory committee has also been formed to look at the budget after cuts are proposed to see what else can be done.

Both committees will be provided with the proposed plans to make changes and suggestions. Feedback on these plans will be due on Oct. 25.

The Nebraska University system also executed some long-term goals for all the universities to apply. 

“I think we can do this, I do,” Kristensen said. “Do I think that we’re going to destroy the mission of the university? No.”

Kristensen said there will be another forum in November to present the proposed budget cuts. The official plan is due to the President’s Office by December 1.

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