KSU President: University may be forced to close if Bevin’s budget cuts are enacted

Raymond Burse
Raymond Burse

Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse says Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts would create a dire financial situation that could require the school to close.

“Kentucky State cannot withstand what is being proposed in the budget,” Burse said in a letter sent Monday to faculty, staff, students and alumni. “If the budget as proposed is enacted, our options would be to declare financial exigency and/or prepare a closure plan.”

In his budget address last month, Bevin proposed cutting state funding to universities, along with many other branches of state government, by 4.5 percent for the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30.

He wants to cut funding by 9 percent over the following two years.

Burse said in his letter that enrollment is a major issue for the university, which makes Bevin’s proposal a big concern.

He said enrollment has been “affected by following and enforcing the university’s admissions standards,” and by the university’s decision in 2014 to drop students who did not pay their tuition bills.

The university had $17 million in outstanding receivables from students when he was hired, Burse said.

Burse said in the letter that he is not “declaring defeat.”

“...I am working hard to make certain we can do our work smarter, logically and effectively to ensure that Kentucky State University is here for another 130 years,” he said.

The historically black school is the smallest public university in the state, with 1,754 undergraduates and 141 graduate students enrolled in fall 2014, acccording to the university’s website.

Enrollment in the fall of 2013 was 2,533.