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Campus community hears from Ramsey, Curtin about budget, tuition

by John Drees and Mark Hebert, communications and marketing last modified Apr 24, 2012 01:03 PM

University of Louisville President James Ramsey met with more than 100 faculty, staff and students Thursday, April 19, at a budget forum in the Floyd Theater.

Campus community hears from Ramsey, Curtin about budget, tuition

President James Ramsey addresses faculty, staff and students in Floyd Theater.

Ramsey told the audience that UofL’s state appropriation will have dropped from $169 million in 2008 to $141 million in 2014, including a $9.7 million cut in 2012-13. The latest cut is the 13th cut in state funding in 12 years.

Since UofL’s general fund budget is comprised of state appropriations and tuition revenue, tuition increases “are just a fact of life,” he said.

UofL has tried to offset the cuts in state funding in creative ways, including trimming the university’s budget reserve by $2 million this year.

Highlights of his budget presentation included:

  • There will be no employee furloughs this year.
  • There will be no campus-wide layoffs, although some departments could cut jobs as part of their internal budget-cutting. Each department has been asked to prepare for a 3 percent cut. No more than 15 employees throughout campus are expected to be laid off through that process.
  • At the time of the forum, Ramsey said the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) was expected to vote April 20 to approve a tuition increase of up to 6 percent for the state’s two research universities. It did. A campus-wide tuition and fee-setting task force has recommended that UofL raise tuition up to 6 percent.
  • The budget includes no annual pay increase for employees. Ramsey hopes to offer employees a one-time, $1,200 bonus this year. A one-time, $1.5 million cash transfer from the Athletic Department and the sale of university-owned land at Eastern Parkway between Bradley and Preston streets will cover the bonus cost.
  • Ramsey hopes that the legislature will approve $31 million in the state’s road plan for improvements in and around the Kentucky Trailer property just south of the Speed School of Engineering. UofL plans to turn that property into an academic/research park. (The plan was approved as part of the budget during the special legislative session.)

Also last week, Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin had student forums on Belknap Campus and at the Health Sciences center to discuss possible 2012-13 tuition rates. Curtin explained to the students that that the CPE has the final say on tuition setting for state universities and the community college and technical school system.

The burden of financing UofL has continued to shift from state government to the students, Curtin told the students. In 1989, tuition and fees accounted for 29 percent of UofL’s budget, with 71 percent coming from state appropriations. In fiscal year 2012-13, just 39 percent of UofL’s budget will come from the state, while tuition and fees will cover the remaining 61 percent.

Students at the forum said they blamed state officials, not UofL administrators, for the annual tuition hikes. Despite the tuition increases, Curtin said UofL’s in-state tuition cost is in the middle of the pack of similar institutions in the region.

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