- Associated Press - Friday, June 29, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska may implement a midyear tuition increase should lawmakers withhold a portion of the school’s state appropriation, according to the university’s president.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved raising tuition by 3.2 percent for the upcoming school year on Thursday. Regents also gave university President Hank Bounds the power to hike tuition further for the second semester, if necessary.

“I hope we don’t have to,” Bounds said. “We will only implement it if there is a need to make another midyear rescission. We need that flexibility because we are out of quick options.”

In-state students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can expect to see the average course load cost rise by $211 next school year under the overall system’s tuition increase. Non-resident students at the Lincoln school can expect to pay $664 more for total annual tuition cost.

Bounds could decide to increase tuition rates again ahead of the spring semester if state revenue projections decline.

The University of Nebraska has been forced to absorb midyear losses over the past two years after state allocation was held back. The university system lost $13 million in the 2016-17 school year and $11.4 million in 2017-18.

Bounds formed teams several years ago to find efficiencies and trim waste, including a hiring freeze, travel restrictions and other discretionary spending cuts. Bounds said he’d rather bring in more tuition revenue to offset losses instead of further endangering the university’s fiscal position.

Lincoln Regent Tim Clare said he trusts Bounds to keep tuition affordable. “I know he has students’ best interests at heart and will do the right thing,” he said.

Omaha Regent Howard Hawks said Bounds considering raising tuition in the middle of the year sends a message to residents and lawmakers that the university system only has one way to respond to a midyear recession.

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