University of Nebraska institutions are funded through multiple revenue sources including state appropriations, tuition, student fees (mandatory, non-mandatory and other miscellaneous fees), grants and donations.
Annual state appropriation levels are determined by the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, while each campus establishes its own tuition rates, which are approved by the Board of Regents. Each campus is also authorized to establish mandatory, non-mandatory and other miscellaneous student fees at its discretion at rates associated with their unique needs. Review and approval of student fees is provided either by the student body, the Board of Regents or University of Nebraska Kearney administration, depending on the fee type.
Mandatory Student Fees - Mandatory student fees are defined as amounts which are directly assessed to all enrolled, graduate and undergraduate students, are required to be paid with tuition, and are generally dedicated to specific purposes. Mandatory student fees include the following:
University Program and Facilities Fees (UPFF)
Fund A – fees designated for student activities which are managed by student organizations
Fund B – fees designated for university programs and facilities, i.e., payment of debt service, ongoing repair and maintenance of facilities, student service agencies
Other Mandatory Miscellaneous Fees (non-UPFF)
Fee revenues generally dedicated to specific purposes including the student ID card, enhancement of technology, library support, student records, academic success, distance education, cultural enrichment and student research opportunities.
Some student fees are assessed for specific activities or programs that exist because of the support provided by fee revenues. Other fees are intended to purchase something, provide services or other benefit to the student. Student Union fees and Facility fees are used to help repay revenue bonds which finance student facilities and to pay for their repair and maintenance.
Miscellaneous and Fund B fees can be charged to generate revenue for the following reasons:
If your department is not a recognized auxiliary operation, you cannot charge fees to support the general expenses of your department or division. Generally mandatory fees are assessed to all enrolled students. The following exceptions may apply:
University of Nebraska at Kearney Mandatory Student Fee Definitions
|Student Activity Fee||Revenue from this fee is used to support student activity programming and student government.|
|Student Events Ticket Fee||This fee provides free admission to UNK sponsored events such as theater productions and athletic events. This fee also supports the intramural program and the Student Talent Development Program, enabling students to participate in opportunities that develop student leadership skill or that provide venues for students to display intellectual talent and other exceptional accomplishment.|
|Student Union Fee||Revenue from this fee supports the Nebraskan Student Union.|
|Health & Counseling Fee||
Revenue from this fee is used to support Counseling and Heath Care.
|Facility Fee||Revenue from this fee supports ongoing maintenance, repair and operation of student facilities.|
|College Readership Fee||Revenue from this fee allows students free access to two local and two national daily newspapers during the academic year.|
|Student Weight Room Fee||Revenue from this fee is used to provide improvements to the student weight and exercise room.|
|ID Card Fee||Provides the student with a validated ID card. Revenue from this fee is used to support the ID card office.|
|Technology Fee||Revenue from this fee is used to enhance and increase the instructional and informational technology literacy and access for students.|
|Library Fee||Revenue from this fee supplements library book collections, research materials and serial journal collections.|
|Student Records Fee||This fee provides for lifetime copies of student transcripts.|
|Academic Success Fee||Revenue from this fee provides services for all students through the Student Support Services, Learning Strategies, Services for Students with Disabilities, First Year Experience, Academic and Career Services, Writing Center and Academic Success offices by means of mentors, tutors and programming. These offices seek to provide services that enhance student academic performance, retention and graduation.|
|Multi-cultural Fee||Revenue from this fee is used to administer programs and services that foster and develop a supportive environment for students of American ethnic heritage, promotes a multicultural climate conducive to the educational achievement of all students and encourages a global perspective of learning for the campus. This fee also supports new programs focused on bringing culturally rich educational events and activities to campus.|
|Undergrad Research Fellowship Fee||Revenue from this fee will provide students the opportunity to participate in scholarly activity during their college career.|
|Wellness Center Fee||Revenue from this fee is cost recovery for construction of the facility and then for ongoing maintenance when occupied.|
|Distance Education Fee||Revenue from this fee is used to provide direct services and support to distance education programs.|
Mandatory student fees generate a significant amount of revenue to support a variety of programs. Departments may retain unexpended revenues for these programs from year to year. As a result, programs funded with mandatory student fees can accumulate fund balances which are available to be carried over for use in future years.
Limits and Controls on Mandatory Fees
It should be noted that the University of Nebraska possesses two central governing authorities, Central Administration and the Board of Regents, to provide oversight and guidance with regard to student fees. http://www.nebraska.edu/docs/board/RegentPolicies.pdf
Procedures for the establishment and approval of UPFF Fund A and B fees are governed by the Board of Regents, while procedures for Miscellaneous Fees are campus governed.
University of Nebraska Central Administration guidelines prohibit fee increases greater than 5%. These informal guidelines also stipulate that fees cannot be increased to cover budget reduction packages.
UPFF Fund A - New fees or increases to existing fees are voted on annually by the student body. Changes to these fees are reported to Central Administration.
UPFF Fund B - All fees are reviewed and approved annually by the Board of Regents. Approval of Fund B fees is documented in the Board of Regents April meeting minutes.
Miscellaneous Fees - Changes to existing fees are reviewed by the Chancellor’s Cabinet. These changes are documented in the Board of Regents meeting minutes.
Establishing a New Student Fee or Increasing an Existing Fee
The University of Nebraska Kearney has a structured process in place to establish new student fees or to request an increase to an existing fee. The campus fee processes in effect were amended effective January 2012 and are outlined in the attached flowcharts according to whether the proposed fee is a UPFF Fund A, Fund B or a Miscellaneous Fee.
Annually, in late September, an announcement is distributed to Administrative Council and their direct reports by Business and Finance requesting the submission of proposals for student fees to be assessed for the following academic year. This announcement outlines the fee approval process, includes the fee proposal form and specifies the date in November when the proposals are due to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.
A Business and Finance Review Panel consisting of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance, Director of Finance, the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, and the Manager of Student Accounts was created to provide an initial review of fee proposals for reasonableness and compliance with Central Administration guidelines. This panel reviews fee proposals in mid-November.
A summary of accepted fee proposals is created by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance and is simultaneously sent to the Chancellor and to the Academic Administrative Review group in early December for a vote on advancement (except Fund A fees which are voted on by students). This group consists of the Dean for Student Affairs, President or Vice President of Student Government, the four academic deans or their designees, the Graduate Dean and a Faculty Senate representative. Fee proposals that are approved at this level are advanced to the Chancellor and the Chancellor's Cabinet for review. If a proposed fee is advanced through all approval levels, it will be included in the annual fee request and review package that is forwarded to the Central Administration in January. The approved fees are reported to the Board of Regents at their spring meeting.
Subsequent to Board of Regents review and/or approval of student fees for an academic term, the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance notifies the Manager of Student Accounts of the fees which have been approved for the upcoming term. The Manager of Student Accounts places the new fee rate into SAP production for the new term.
Authority to Request a New Fee or a Change to an Existing Fee
The Department Chair has the authority to request a new fee or a change to an existing fee with approval of the appropriate Dean or Vice Chancellor.
On the Administrative side, a Dean or Director has the authority to request a new feel or a change to an existing fee with approval of their appropriate Vice Chancellor.
Guidelines or Restrictions on the Expenditure of Fee Revenues
Generally, fees should be expended only for the intended purpose for which the fees were collected. Appropriate use of fees generated, explicit restrictions, limitations, or conditions should be included on the Fee Proposal Request Form.
University of Nebraska Central Administration guidelines require that permanent salary and benefits should not be supported with fee revenue and/or “soft” money generated on each campus. This policy excludes salaries and benefits of permanent employees paid by certain recognized Auxiliary Fund cost centers.
Monitoring of the Expenditure of Fee Revenues
Periodic review of the expenditure of student fee revenues will be performed at least annually by an independent administrator to ensure that the funds are used effectively, efficiently and for the intended purpose for which they were collected. This review will be documented and the results communicated to campus administration.
Monitoring of Fee Revenues Fund Balances
An independent periodic review of fund balances will be performed by an independent administrator to ensure that current fee amounts being collected are set at an appropriate level and also to ensure that fund balances on hand are not excessive. The review will include an analysis of fees earned for the period, disbursed, transferred and carried over from the previous fiscal year as well as fund balances carried forward to the subsequent fiscal year. Significant fund balance surpluses will be identified and an explanation of its planned use will be required from the department. This review will be documented and the results communicated to campus administration.