Budget cuts at UNK could mean higher tuition

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - As the University of Nebraska at Kearney works to get under budget, students could feel the effect on more than just their wallets.

UNK has already cut $13 million in this year's budget and another $16 million in their biennial budget, but Wednesday's veto by Governor Ricketts means that they'll have to cut spending by another $5.7 million over the next two years.

The board of regents will meet on June 2, to discuss increasing tuition.
While no student wants to see the increase, for some, even a slight increase could create an even bigger financial burden.

"I wouldn't like it because I pay my tuition out of my pocket. I work for school," said Staci Weavers.

Weavers is entering her sophomore year and has a full-time job to pay off school. She said she recently moved off campus to save money. She's not alone.

Wuilian Martinez has also moved off-campus and is working 30 hours a weeks. He said he's just getting by as is.

"It's already too expensive for me, so even just the fact that I have to pay a little bit more, even if it's just a little bit, it would actually hurt a lot because I don't really know how I would be able to pay more, not living on campus," said Martinez.

Martinez has already looked into taking some courses at a community college to save money. However, he said his grades could take a dip if he has to put in more hours at work.

"It's going to be a big struggle. I'm not going to lie. In the middle, somethings going to have to give. You can't have all three work and school. It's one or the other. It's a tough decision to make really," said Martinez.

Despite the chance of higher tuition, Weavers and Martinez said it's unlikely that it would force them transfer to a more affordable school.

"I like it here. I feel like it would make me struggle more, but I think that I would be OK in the end. I think I would stay here, yeah," said Weavers.

Students aren't the only ones that could feel the hit from these cuts. UNK might also reduce spending in a number of programs could be forced to let go of some staff in order to get under budget.

"We're looking at every line item from utilities to travel to printing, all of it in order to make these budget cuts work, but it's a significant amount of money," said Kelly Bartling, vice chancellor of communication.

According to Bartling, campuses across the state are looking at a shortfall of $100 million.

Bartling said the university is still looking into what cuts they'll make, but should have a solution soon.