LINCOLN, Neb. — An administrator at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln says the school is going to focus on maintaining a growing enrollment despite a challenging higher education budget.

Chancellor Ronnie Green presented his annual State of the University address Tuesday. In his speech, Green highlighted the school’s successes and challenges, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

“We certainly are aware that state and federal resources, even in the years ahead of us, don’t look like they’re increasing,” he said. “The funding portfolio in higher education continues to evolve. Our political environment is one that is quite divisive and supercharged, as I would call it.”

State lawmakers cut $13 million from the university system’s biennial appropriation earlier this year, helping create a nearly $50 million university budget shortfall.

University system officials have identified more than 70 areas outside of academic programs where the system is expected to save nearly $30 million. They also say two years of tuition increases will generate enough additional revenue to close the gap.

Green said the Lincoln campus will be required to cut $17 million itself over the next two years.

“Ultimately, there will have to be academic programs affected,” he said.

Despite budget challenges, the university celebrated three consecutive years of growing enrollment, topping 26,000 students this year. Green said he has “an aspirational goal of 32,500 students” by 2025.

“How to budget through a downturn in the state economy at the same time you have this momentum and this growth that is happening at the university, that’s the challenge we have,” he said.

Green said that regardless of the changes ahead, the university shouldn’t lose sight of its mission — providing quality education and improving the quality of life for Nebraska residents.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com