Barbara Leads on These Issues

Student Debt

I am committed to keeping tuition as low as possible. The shortfall of the state budget revenue cannot be covered through tuition increases. Students cannot afford an 8 percent tuition increase which was the range that would have been required to make up the shortfall.

We are proud of new programs that were started during COVID such as Nebraska Promise scholarships which eliminated tuition for students from households with less than $65,000 in income. That has allowed us to reach at least 1,000 students who otherwise would not be attending college.

We joined a national program that cuts the costs of textbooks, saving students more than $3 million.

This summer, The Chronicle of Higher Education released a list of institutions across the country of students graduating with the least debt. Nebraska ranked third.

Through public and private partnerships that will add revenue, while offering students opportunities to learn outside of the classroom in real-world settings, we will increase the value it brings to our state economy.

Financial Stability and New Revenue Streams

The world has changed, and higher education is changing along with it. I have been troubled by the partisan politics that have been inserted into our governing bodies despite the fact the Board of Regents and other institutions are nonpartisan. I am on the second presidential search committee of my five-year tenure. Securing a leader of the University of Nebraska is the most important responsibility for any member of the board. We are facing a $54-million operating budget shortage that will impact all our campuses, although our state faces a shortage of people to fill 10,000 vacant jobs which, by the year 2026, 65 percent will require at least a bachelor’s degree.

We need people who value education and understand the upward social mobility it will bring to individuals and their families. Experts tell us Nebraska receives $9 for every $1 we receive through tuition at our university campuses. We must increase this return of value as we grow.

We are preparing for the future and all of us need to support and help to fund it.

Retention of the Best and Brightest

The University of Nebraska needs to continue to anticipate the needs of those individuals who will be graduating in the years ahead. We must be creative and nimble in our commitments to prepare for jobs of the future. We must graduate students who will be critical thinkers and problem solvers and who will stay in Nebraska.

We are adding certificate programs that will retrain or provide advanced training of our workforce who either cannot or are not interested in a degree program. We bring students out into the world through opportunities to intern in their area of career interest.

As we face a future filled with possibilities and change, we must do our best to attract, retain and efficiently graduate our students. As regents, I believe we must meet the challenges ahead and create a university we are proud of by producing citizens for Nebraska and the nation with our teaching, research and service.

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