Chancellor Paul Turman said the additional state funding would be used to provide a 2% salary bump for employees at the system’s campuses in Peru, Wayne and Chadron, while also covering increased costs for health insurance, utilities and operating expenses.
Turman also said receiving more in state funding would help the system hold tuition increases to a minimum and return to having state appropriations cover 70% of its instructional costs.
Currently, the state pays for about 64% of the costs to educate students, which allows the system to keep its tuition prices about 30% lower than its peers in the region.
“That is a level you don’t see in a lot of states,” Turman told the committee.
Nebraska’s six community colleges would also receive 2% more in state aid under the Appropriation Committee’s initial plan to support increased cost of operations.
Greg Adams, executive director of the Nebraska Community College Association, said the colleges quickly pivoted to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trade programs adjusted their classrooms to ensure students could keep learning in-person, for example.
But those adjustments came with increased costs and necessitated a need for more in state aid in order to keep tuition and local property taxes — the other two ways community colleges are funded — low, Adams said.