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Report: University of Neb. expanding its assets

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The University of Nebraska increased its assets during the last fiscal year through a combination of investments, insurance and cost-savings measures, according to a new state report.

The Nebraska state auditor's report released this month shows that the university's unrestricted net assets grew by 10 percent, to $902 million, during the fiscal year that ended in June.

The university's partnership with the Nebraska Medical Center hospitals in Omaha generated $7 million for the university this year, according to the report. Balances for property, general liability and group health insurance also grew by $17 million.

The university's cash reserves increased by $5 million, due largely to cost-saving measures. The report shows that compensation and benefits for employees increased by 2 percent this year, compared to a 6 percent increase in 2011. But expenses for supplies, materials and utility costs decreased.

"This stems from the university's effort reduce expenditures during the year to conserve state-aided resources," university officials said in their report to state auditors.

The university's energy costs fell after workers replaced windows and chillers to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The increased efficiency offset the cost of consumption in new buildings, according to the report.

The university also finished several major construction projects this year that added to its asset base. The list includes the $15 million Volte-Keegan Nanoscience Research Center in Lincoln, $23 million in renovations to the Animal Science Complex in Lincoln and a $16 million addition to the Devaney Sports Center.

The university now holds $2.7 billion in total net assets, up from $2.5 billion the previous year.