Message to the Campus Community - June 8, 2018
Thank you again for the warm welcome I have received since joining the UofL community last month. Venkat and I absolutely love Louisville, and we are so excited to work with you to make this an even greater place to learn, to work and to invest.
I’m writing today to share some bad, but necessary, news about our budget.
As you know, we have been facing serious budget issues for several years. Changes implemented last year helped ease the problem, but did not totally solve it. In addition, the university has received another 6.25-percent cut in our state appropriation. And in its recently completed 10-year review, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) stressed the need for UofL to increase its liquidity, or the amount of cash on hand for use in emergencies.
We must deal with these realities immediately. On June 20, the Board of Trustees will consider a budget that includes a 5-percent university-wide reduction in funding. Deans, vice presidents and other administrators will determine how their individual units will deal with the cut. I am sure this news does not come as a shock to many of you, but certainly a disappointment to all of us. I am sorry that my first message to each of you has to be this one. I want to acknowledge the gravity of this situation, but remind you that we are turning a corner and that together we will steer the university back to a strong financial position.
This is a short-term fix. We know we simply cannot cut our way to success. We are developing a long-term strategy that will include enrollment increases, significant philanthropic support, entrepreneurial efforts and operational efficiencies. That will take some time, and we will involve faculty, staff and students in the process.
Any long-term changes will be made with our students’ best interests in mind. This year’s proposed 4-percent tuition increase will protect key student services and enable us to make small investments to improve the student experience. Our hope is to keep tuition increases low in the coming years.
I ask for your patience and support as we make changes to strengthen the university while dealing with our fiscal reality. While the challenges we face are significant, I am confident we are more than up to the task. And I am confident that, as a team, we will work through this issue and come out an even greater university.
Neeli Bendapudi, PhD