As College Insurrection recently reported, Republicans in California are proposing a freeze on fee hikes at state schools. Now it looks as though Nebraska may be looking to do the same with tuition.
Henry J. Cordes of The Omaha World Herald reports.
Proposed state-college tuition freeze reflects Nebraska’s priorities
Justine Goeden finds herself constantly running between her classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and two jobs — one at a day care center, another at a doctor’s office.
But it’s a price that the 20-year-old West Point, Neb., native is willing to pay to help her get her degree in library science. The jobs are a must when it comes to paying for tuition, fees, room and board and “outrageously expensive” textbooks.
Given all that, Goeden naturally welcomed the news last week that Gov. Dave Heineman and state education leaders are proposing a two-year freeze in tuition rates at the University of Nebraska and Nebraska state colleges, with the state making up for the forgone tuition dollars with added tax-dollar support.
While the tuition freeze plan is unusual for the state, it represents something that isn’t new at all: the priority that Nebraska policymakers have given to higher education funding. Nebraska traditionally has provided among the healthiest state appropriations to higher education in the country.
And that commitment has barely wavered over the past decade, even as two recessions have ravaged state budgets for higher education across the United States, including in neighboring Iowa.
When public dollars for higher education are adjusted for inflation and enrollment growth, Nebraska is one of only four states in which funding has grown since 2000. Over the same period, funding nationally has plummeted by 24 percent, according to a World-Herald analysis of the latest data.
Just on the other side of the Missouri River, Iowa has slashed its tax-dollar budget for higher education by nearly 46 percent over that time. That trails only Georgia as the biggest hit that higher education has taken in any state.
Proposed state-college tuition freeze reflects Nebraska's priorities (The Omaha World Herald)