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Trustee finance committee approves 2013‒14 budget

by John Drees, communications and marketing last modified May 23, 2013 05:28 PM

A 4 percent salary increase for faculty and staff and the smallest undergraduate tuition increase in 14 years highlight the 2013‒14 operating budget approved May 23 by the Finance Committee of the UofL Board of Trustees.

President James Ramsey stressed to board members the importance his administration places on offering a recurring salary increase to faculty and staff. Eligible employees will receive 4 percent increases. Staff who earn below $30,000 per year will receive a $1,200 increase. The budget also includes a 10 percent increase — $1.2 million — in the university’s contribution toward employee health insurance.

He bristled when a reporter asked him about providing a 4 percent raise during tough budget times.

“I wish it could have been 6 percent,” he said. “This trajectory we’re on didn’t happen by accident. It is a result of the hard work of our faculty and staff.”

The 3 percent undergraduate tuition increase — or $152 per semester — is the smallest since 1999 and the second-smallest since 1990. The budget also includes a 3 percent increase in student housing rates.

A central financial aid budget increase of $942,000 brings total university-sponsored financial aid to more than $51 million.

The $496.5 million general fund budget is $13.8 million higher than in 2012‒13, a 2.9 percent increase. It is part of a $1.2 billion overall budget, which also includes the UofL Foundation, Athletic Association, Research Foundation and other corporations.

The general fund budget includes a state appropriation of $164.2 million, roughly the same as last year.

It also includes

  • $2.75 million in projected savings from the Voluntary Separation Incentive program currently being offered to eligible faculty and staff;
  • about $750,000 in savings from changes to the university procurement system;
  • a $2 million transfer from the UofL Foundation to help balance the budget.

The transfer funding is part of $5.5 million generated through a Health Sciences Center tax increment financing district which the state approved for the university in 2007. The UofL Foundation started to collect income from the TIF in 2012.

Ramsey said those savings and transfers are part of an ongoing effort to find new sources of revenue for the university, efforts he deems vital to UofL during a time of flat or reduced state funding.

“People want the very best…in higher education,” he said. “It would be impossible for us to be on the trajectory we’re on if it weren’t for those alternative sources of income.”

The full Board of Trustees will vote on the budget at its June 13 meeting.

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