The University of Kentucky will lose $12.6 million next year thanks to a 4.5 percent cut in state funding. At the same time, student financial aid and scholarships will increase by more than $20 million, and fixed costs for things such as utilities and employee health insurance are on the rise.
How to fill those financial gaps is among many decisions UK officials are considering as they craft a budget for the next two years.
“I am confident we will prevail. We will not lose our way, but we must continue to find our way forward,” President Eli Capilouto told the Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday.
In Kentucky, higher education has been cut every biennium since 2008, but in surrounding states, investment in higher education is increasing, Capilouto said. At UK, state appropriations made up 57 percent of the university’s General Fund in 2008. Today, it’s 37 percent. UK has lost more than $70 million in that time.
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One of the ways to help fill the gap is tuition. The Council on Postsecondary Education has capped UK’s increase for next year at 5 percent; UK has not announced if it will charge the maximum allowed. The amount of money an increase could bring depends on the number of students accepted, how many decide to attend and how many come from out of state. Tuition increases and the two-year budget will be approved on June 24.
UK Provost Tim Tracy said the budget would be shaped around four principles: student access and affordability; competitive pay for faculty and staff, including pay increases; continued academic quality; and increased diversity and inclusion.
“You never cut your way to the top,” Tracy said.
In 2017, 5 percent of state funding, or about $13.4 million for UK, will be awarded according to how well each state university performs on measurements such as graduation and retention rates.
Eric Monday, vice president for finance and administration, said his office would continue to look for financial efficiencies.
In other business, the board accepted several large gifts, including a $4 million pledge from Michael Garver of Houston for the Garver Endowed Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering and $4.5 million from the Hardymon Foundation to create the James and Gay Hardymon Center for Student Success in the College of Engineering, and endow the Hardymon Student Enrichment Fund.
Officials also announced the 2015-16 class of University Research Professorships. The professors are recognized for their research achievement across a wide range of disciplines and will receive a $10,000 award. They are: Arthur G. Hunt, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Qiang Ye, Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences; Thomas R. Zentall, Psychology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences; Sherali Zeadally, School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information; Jeffrey L. Ebersole, College of Dentistry; Gary P. Rohrbacher, School of Architecture in the College of Design; W. Brent Seales, Computer Science Department in the College of Engineering; Diana R. Hallman, School of Music in the College of Fine Arts; Stephen P. Borgatti, Management Department in the Gatton College of Business and Economics; Esther Dupont-Versteegden, Rehabilitation Sciences Department in the College of Health Sciences; Mary J. Davis, College of Law; Eugenia F. Toma: Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; Bret N. Smith, Physiology Department of the College of Medicine; Edward D. Hall, Spinal Cord Brain Injury Research Center in the College of Medicine; Ellen J. Hahn, College of Nursing; Chang-Guo Zhan, Pharmaceutical Sciences Department in the College of Pharmacy; and Terry L. Bunn, Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health Department in the College of Public Health.