NU Funding Sources

Funding sources charts courtesy of University of Nebraska

Funding sources charts courtesy of University of Nebraska

NU Funding Sources: A Breakdown of the University's Budget

Signs of momentum are everywhere on the four University of Nebraska campuses. New buildings are being built, existing ones are being updated, internationally-recognized research is being conducted, thousands of students are collecting diplomas each year. Where does the university get the resources to fuel this momentum?

According to the Office of the President of the University of Nebraska, each state dollar returns 300 percent through economic growth. The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources alone generates $15 for every one dollar of Nebraska tax investment.

The University of Nebraska is largely funded by taxes, tuition, auxiliary entities, federal funds and private gifts and has careful guidelines in place about how each funding source is spent. Figure 1 includes two pie graphs showing funding sources and comparing 1989-1990 and 2009-2010.

Altogether, the university system has a budget of $1.9 billion, but more than 60 percent of those dollars are restricted or designated for specific uses.

Where does the money come from, and how is it spent?

State-Aided Funds: Taxes and Tuition

State appropriations and tuition are considered to be "state-aided" funds by the university's budget office and together, they accounted for about 37 percent of the 2009-2010 NU budget ($729 million), compared to nearly 50 percent in 1989-1990. State-aided funds provide a stable, predictable base of support and pay for teaching and general university operations, including instruction, student services, outreach (such as Cooperative Extension), administrative support and facility costs.

State appropriations accounted for 26 percent of the budget in 2009-2010, compared to 39 percent in 1989-1990.
Stable state support allows all of the University of Nebraska campuses to rank significantly below their peers in tuition and fees, according to the Office of the President. Tuition dollars made up 11 percent of the 2009-2010 budget, compared to 9 percent in 1989-1990.

For 2009-2010, resident undergraduate tuition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was 25 percent below UNL's peer average. The University of Nebraska at Omaha ranked 12 percent below its peer average and the University of Nebraska at Kearney was 21 percent below its peers. The University of Nebraska Medical Center also ranks below its peers; tuition rates vary by college.

Auxiliary Entities: Self- Supporting

Auxiliary funds make up 26 percent (about $483 million) of the 2009-2010 budget, compared to 28 percent of the 1989-1990 budget. Auxiliary funds and revolving funds are self-supporting and do not receive taxpayer or tuition support. They are dollars generated and used by specific university entities such as University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletics, student housing, parking services, course fees and lab fees.

Expendable Restricted Funds: Federal and Private

Federal and private funds together are called expendable restricted funds because the providers designate how their money is spent. Expendable restricted funds accounted for 31 percent of the university's budget (about $583 million) in 2009-2010, compared to 22 percent in 1989-1990. The money comes from research grants and contracts, the University of Nebraska Foundation, endowments and gifts. The money pays for research, scholarships and fellowships and endowed professorships.

The federal fund part of the expendable restricted funds category includes grant and contract dollars and makes up 18 percent of the university's 2009-2010 budget, compared to 12 percent in 1989-1990.

The private fund part of the expendable restricted funds category includes private gifts and accounts for 13 percent of the university's 2009-2010 budget, compared to 10 percent in 1989-1990. Private gifts are often designated for specific purposes, such as new buildings for specific purposes, scholarships, research or student travel. Private gifts are restricted to uses outlined in fund agreements.

Designated Funds

Designated funds amount to 5 percent of the 2009-2010 budget (about $90 million). These funds come from the indirect cost of sponsored research, clinical patient revenues and Tobacco Settlement research funds. Designated funds pay for research and clinical activities at the university.