President Carter on Huskers Radio Network's Sports Nightly - "2022-2023 Budget"
President Carter joined Greg Sharpe on the Huskers Radio Network's Sports Nightly to give an update on the University of Nebraska System's 2022-2023 operating budget, the tuition freeze for the upcoming academic year, and how the university is expanding access to Nebraska's young people.
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[00:00:00.420]We are back on "Sports Nightly",
[00:00:01.800]here on the Huskers Radio Network,
[00:00:03.150]and what a treat for us tonight to be joined
[00:00:04.800]by the President of the University of Nebraska, Ted Carter.
[00:00:07.410]And I know you've just gotten through
[00:00:09.600]the annual budget process.
[00:00:12.240]What do our listeners need to know about that?
[00:00:15.090]Well, Greg, it's good to be with you,
[00:00:16.260]it's good to be enjoying some nice summer days
[00:00:18.360]here in Nebraska.
[00:00:19.590]You know, it'd be nice to just talk for a couple minutes
[00:00:21.450]about the context in which we brought this budget forward.
[00:00:25.680]You know, listeners don't need a lecture on this,
[00:00:28.200]but everybody knows inflation is at,
[00:00:30.651]you know, a 40-year high, over 8%.
[00:00:32.760]Nebraskans are paying more for groceries and gas and rent.
[00:00:36.060]You know, they're having a lot of hard conversations
[00:00:37.680]around the dinner table.
[00:00:39.030]Consumer confidence right now is at a record low,
[00:00:41.790]and families and businesses are feeling the squeeze.
[00:00:44.580]So our approach here with our budget was to make sure
[00:00:47.010]that we didn't follow all of those challenges,
[00:00:49.800]that we would be doing something different.
[00:00:52.710]Nebraskans are paying more for just about everything,
[00:00:54.870]but not tuition at the University of Nebraska.
[00:00:57.630]We froze tuition again for every student
[00:00:59.880]across the board for the second straight year.
[00:01:03.030]And I'll tell you, that's not something I'm seeing
[00:01:04.620]at other public universities nationwide.
[00:01:06.540]No, you're not.
[00:01:07.373]And everyone feels that inflation
[00:01:08.850]when they go to the gas pump
[00:01:10.020]and fill up their car and their vehicle.
[00:01:12.120]So freezing tuition, that is such a big deal
[00:01:14.760]and something that students are,
[00:01:15.847]"I have to greatly appreciate."
[00:01:18.210]Yeah, and the University of Nebraska is not immune
[00:01:20.280]from inflation, like everybody else.
[00:01:21.750]But what we're doing that's different,
[00:01:23.220]is we're not gonna pass those costs onto our students.
[00:01:26.850]This is a fiscally challenging time,
[00:01:28.830]yet access to higher education has never been important
[00:01:31.980]than it is right now.
[00:01:33.300]We are sending a very strong, clear message to Nebraskans.
[00:01:37.110]We wanna give students and families confidence
[00:01:39.390]that they can afford a University of Nebraska education.
[00:01:43.170]So a lot of people were saying,
[00:01:44.467]"Well, how are you able to do that?
[00:01:45.900]How are you able to do things like freeze tuition?"
[00:01:48.030]And the answer is, as Nebraskans know,
[00:01:50.340]it takes hard work, discipline.
[00:01:52.260]And we have been sticking to a plan
[00:01:53.970]that we built two years ago, shortly after COVID hit.
[00:01:57.150]Our plan called for conservative fiscal planning.
[00:01:59.580]We knew there'd be some economic impact,
[00:02:02.040]we didn't know inflation would be as high as it is.
[00:02:04.470]But we did this so we could focus our resources
[00:02:06.870]on the areas that create the biggest impact.
[00:02:09.150]Student affordability, faculty competitiveness,
[00:02:12.720]and strategic priorities.
[00:02:14.370]So the budget we just passed is a very conservative budget.
[00:02:17.010]It limits spending growth to 1.3%,
[00:02:19.940]which as we just talked about,
[00:02:21.180]well below 8.6% inflation and less
[00:02:24.780]than what the state government is spending right now,
[00:02:26.790]which is at 6.4%.
[00:02:28.230]So I'm really proud of what we've been able to do.
[00:02:30.060]Tuition freeze, that's the headlight of this whole thing,
[00:02:32.130]but that's not the only thing the university is doing
[00:02:34.110]to expand access to Nebraska's young people, is it?
[00:02:37.500]No, but the tuition freeze
[00:02:38.820]is the number one highlight in the budget.
[00:02:41.400]A step that's gonna keep us at the bottom of our peer groups
[00:02:44.310]in the very best way, in terms of affordability.
[00:02:46.920]We appreciate the state support we did receive,
[00:02:49.500]particularly from the governor and the legislature
[00:02:51.480]which makes that freeze possible.
[00:02:53.460]We're doing everything possible to see the overall cost
[00:02:56.220]of attendance as low as possible.
[00:02:58.470]So you're gonna see some modest fee increases
[00:03:00.900]across the campuses.
[00:03:02.310]And to put that in perspective, we're talking about the cost
[00:03:04.860]of taking an Uber from the Lincoln Airport
[00:03:07.440]to downtown Lincoln.
[00:03:08.340]I mean, that's what we're talking about fee increases.
[00:03:10.860]But those funds are gonna go directly
[00:03:12.390]to mental health services on the campuses.
[00:03:14.730]And that's an area of priority for us, and one
[00:03:16.500]in which our students specifically asked us to increase.
[00:03:20.370]So we've recently expanded the Nebraska Promise as well
[00:03:22.980]to a threshold of $65,000,
[00:03:25.800]as opposed to the $60,000 threshold a year ago.
[00:03:29.280]So even before the expansion,
[00:03:30.810]we had 7,000 students qualified.
[00:03:32.610]And with this change in the ceiling for Nebraska Promise,
[00:03:37.350]we expect another thousand students to qualify.
[00:03:39.960]Again, visiting with President Carter,
[00:03:41.190]here on "Sports Nightly", the Huskers Radio Network.
[00:03:43.830]What else can you tell us about the budget?
[00:03:46.643]What would you like for our audience to know about?
[00:03:49.170]Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about faculty.
[00:03:51.660]You know, two years ago, we set a goal to close the gap
[00:03:54.390]with our peers within the big 10
[00:03:56.670]and our other peer institutions.
[00:03:58.530]And we're making those investments
[00:03:59.850]necessary to do that today.
[00:04:01.830]We know we're in a national competition for talent,
[00:04:04.260]and we have to offer competitive salaries to recruit
[00:04:06.840]and retain the very best people, who are our greatest asset.
[00:04:11.520]So with this budget, the University of Nebraska
[00:04:14.040]is emerging in a position of real strength.
[00:04:16.530]I look around the national landscape and I see
[00:04:18.570]there are some institutions that are hunkered down.
[00:04:21.150]Had to borrow huge chunks of money,
[00:04:23.280]hundreds of millions of dollars,
[00:04:24.720]and we haven't had to do that.
[00:04:26.220]And others that kept their eye like us, on the horizon
[00:04:29.088]and are actually coming
[00:04:30.270]through this in a position of strength.
[00:04:32.400]So we didn't wanna wait this out.
[00:04:34.140]We find ourselves right now in a position
[00:04:37.050]where Nebraska is going to be part of the solution.
[00:04:40.410]With this budget we brought
[00:04:41.580]to the board of regions two weeks ago,
[00:04:43.560]we are in a stronger position to continue growing Nebraska.
[00:04:47.070]We are just a couple days ahead of a holiday weekend,
[00:04:49.830]the 4th of July weekend,
[00:04:50.880]and I'm sure as a man who has served our country,
[00:04:52.710]this probably means a great deal to you.
[00:04:54.930]Every 4th of July, I think about all the men and women
[00:04:58.050]I've served with in uniform for over 38 years,
[00:05:01.020]naval academy classmates.
[00:05:03.750]You know, the life of a serviceman
[00:05:06.270]has not changed that much,
[00:05:07.830]even from the day that I was commissioned in 1981.
[00:05:10.740]And that's a day I often reflect
[00:05:12.330]on what's most important to us, and that's our independence.
[00:05:15.360]Well, thank you for filling us in on the budget process.
[00:05:17.820]I know it's a big thing to get kinda
[00:05:19.680]in the rear-view mirror.
[00:05:20.550]Before you know it, you're probably gonna be turning
[00:05:21.810]the page and getting ready to work on another one
[00:05:23.880]for the next year.
Yes, we will.
[00:05:25.710]Good to see you.
Good to see you, Greg.
[00:05:26.970]Happy 4th of July to Ted Carter.
[00:05:28.200]We have more "Sports Nightly" coming up next.
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