LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2013) ― University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said that the $2.7 billion budget for this coming year continues a strategic and intense focus on top institutional priorities:
- Making critical investments in the academic success, health and welfare of students
- Investing in the faculty and staff who teach and mentor students at all levels and in programs that will provide more support for their efforts
The budget ― a 2.7 percent or $71 million increase over last year ― was adopted Tuesday by the UK Board of Trustees.
"A budget is an expression of priorities and a roadmap for how an institution intends to implement those priorities," Capilouto said. "We are keeping the promises we made a year ago as this budget clearly invests in our students and our people as well as the programs and facilities that help them maximize their collective potential. After all, they are why we are here."
"The budget invests in the institutional priorities that President Capilouto and the board identified more than a year ago," said UK Board of Trustees Chairman Britt Brockman. "We are investing in students and the quality of their learning environment. We are investing in faculty and staff ― both level of their compensation and the facilities in which they do their work. The goal: to continue the trajectory of excellence that we are on by investing directly in our students and our people."
Specifically, the budget provides for:
- A $20.2 million investment in faculty and staff raises and benefit adjustments. That includes a 5 percent merit-based pool for faculty and staff at UK. The investment also ensures no increases in health premiums for most employees.
- A 3 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for resident students or Kentuckians, the lowest such increase in 15 years.
- Critical investments in safety and student support services, such as more than $1 million for safety technology and hiring additional police officers as well as hiring additional counselors to cut down on wait times at the student counseling center. UK also invested more than $4 million last year in increased technology initiatives to improve safety efforts.
- A focused commitment to eLearning with more than $1 million in the coming year being devoted to development of online learning initiatives. Last month, UK announced a partnership with educational technology company Coursera to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) to prospective students. UK is among 10 state universities or systems embarking on this partnership with Coursera, one of the country's leading educational technology companies.
- The new initiatives are designed to help with so-called "gateway" courses, such as math and science that all students take; development of additional courses that utilize technology; and faculty development programs that will assist in the transition to greater use of technology in the classroom. UK intends to invest $3 million over the next three years in such initiatives.
- Investing $500,000 in UK Libraries' periodicals budget. The amount replaces what was cut during budget reallocations last year.
- An additional $7.3 million for scholarships and aid. Over 85 percent of Kentucky students at UK, according to the most recently available figures, receive financial aid, including scholarships and grants, which do not have to be repaid. About 50 percent of that aid is funded by the university. As a result of the financial aid efforts, these Kentucky students who received scholarships and aid last year had only about $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses per semester for tuition and mandatory fees
- A debt pool now totaling more than $10 million that the university has set aside to help pay for facility projects such as the new Science and Academic Building.
- Investing an additional $1 million in the capital renewal pool ― which will now total some $4 million ― for repairs and deferred maintenance on facilities.
About half of the increase in revenues for the 2013-2014 budget ― $35.5 million ― is the result of a larger student body, higher mix of out-of-state students and the modest tuition increase for the coming year. UK continues to educate more Kentuckians as it has added more students ― a nod to increasing affordable access to higher education. UK is projecting about 4,800 first-year students this coming fall, up from 4,647 students last year.
UK is making investments in pay raises and facilities even as state appropriations have been cut some $50 million since 2007-2008. UK's academic units had reallocations of 3.3 percent in 2012-13; non-academic department reductions were 5 percent. In the budget for the coming year, a smaller reduction of 2 percent is being made for academic units; another 5 percent reallocation is being made in non-academic units.
In addition, the provost's office is using incentive funds of $3.9 million to further mitigate cuts to academic units. The dollars are targeted to academic departments and programs that develop and implement strict performance goals.
"This budget says that a promise made should be a promise kept," Capilouto said. "We are making investments in our students ― in scholarships, safety, counseling and hundreds of millions of dollars in living and learning facilities that will foster community and collaboration. We are investing in our faculty and staff ― pay raises that will help us competitively compensate them and the technical and infrastructure support they need to continue their exemplary work. We continue to be challenged by an economy not of our making and in some ways not in our control. But we are finding innovative ways to ensure that is not an impediment. We are an institution that is moving forward and creating what we call a 'differentiated graduate' who is prepared to lead our state and our world."
In other related action:
The board approved the 2014-2020 Capital Plan for the institution. UK must submit potential projects over $600,000 that it may request funding or authorization for from the legislature.
The voluminous list includes projects such as an expanded and renovated Student Center and construction of a satellite Student Center on south campus to meet growing student demand; continued fit-outs of floors in the new Chandler Hospital; an Academic Learning Center to provide more high-tech learning space; and a new parking structure. Individual projects, if the university decides to try to move forward, would have to receive formal approval from the UK Board of Trustees.
The board also gave formal approval to the selection of Christine Riordan as provost. Riordan comes to UK from the University of Denver, where she has been serving as dean of the Daniels College of Business.