Whitesburg KY

UK students face possible six percent tuition boost


University of Kentucky students would dig deeper tocovera6percenttuition increase next school year as part of a budget proposal that includes the first pay raises in three years for faculty and staff at the state’s flagship university.

The tuition boost would amount to an extra $259 per semester for lower-division undergraduate students from Kentucky, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. said in a campus-wide e-mail sent Tuesday.

Higher tuition would generate nearly $14.8 million in revenue, still leaving a $20 million budget hole, Todd said.

The proposed tuition hike must be approved by UK trustees and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

UK’s budget proposal includes a pool of $ 11.2 million to reward non-UK HealthCare faculty and staff with an average 3 percent salary increase, Todd said. The raises would be awarded based on merit.

“ The tuition increase strikes the right balance between the continuing struggles Kentuckians face in a still-fragile economy and the needs of the university,” Todd wrote in the e-mail to faculty, staff and students.

“I understand the pain tuition increases cause our students and their families. But we do our students a grave and lasting disservice if we let the quality of their undergraduate experience erode. And it will erode if flat salaries result in faculty and staff departures and if flat budgets keep us from investing in this university’s progress.”

The tuition proposal goes before UK trustees on May 3 on the Lexington campus. That same day, trustees hope to choose a successor to Todd. He is retiring in June after a decade of leading the approximately 28,000-student university. A search committee recently trimmed the list of candidates to a small pool of finalists being vetted by trustees.

The entire budget would come up for a vote at the trustees’ June meeting.

Todd said the university will absorb a $3.1 million reduction in its state appropriations next fiscal year. It also faces more than $21 million in higher operation expenses.

UK will plug some of the budget gap partly by carrying forward excess revenues from the current academic year, and from additional tuition revenue from expanded summer course offerings, Todd said. That will still leave a shortfall of millions of dollars, and the university “will have to find the remaining funds internally” through efficiency and operational measures, he said.

UK’s proposed tuition increase matches the 6 percent tuition increase proposed for undergraduate students at the University of Louisville. UofL’s tuition proposal must also be approved by the school’s trustees and the postsecondary education council.

UofL’s budget proposal includes a pool of money for merit raises averaging 3 percent for faculty and administrators and flat pay raises for staff of $ 1,200 or 3 percent, whichever is greater.

Last year, the postsecondary education council seta6percentceilingfor tuition at UK and UofL. The council plans to meet April 28 to set tuition ceilings for public universities and colleges for the next school year.

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