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UK Budget Tops $3 Billion for First Time in History

Published: Jun 10, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) — Fueled by continued growth in health care and student enrollment, the University of Kentucky's budget for 2014-2015 is expected to exceed $3 billion for the first time ever, President Eli Capilouto announced Tuesday.


At the same time, the percentage of the university's budget funded by the state will, for the first time, fall below 10 percent, to about 9.3 percent — a reflection, Capilouto said, of the growth of other revenues, even as state support has declined by about $55 million on a recurring basis since 2008.


"We are growing as an institution because the best and brightest students in the region, along with their families, see UK as the right investment for their futures," Capilouto said. "And, most significantly, we have a health-care enterprise that is the region's source for the highest-quality care in the cases where the need is most acute. With the leadership of the Board of Trustees, we are charting an aggressive path toward a bright future, but we still need the state as a partner in that journey, if we are to honor our mission as the source of answers to the Commonwealth's most intractable challenges."


“This budget reflects the fact that the institution’s resources are going directly to our top priorities — investing in the mission of the University of Kentucky to provide the best education, research, service and health care for the Commonwealth we serve,” said Britt Brockman, chair of the UK Board of Trustees. “It also reflects that through the leadership of our board and President Capilouto, and the efforts of donors, partners and alumni, we are finding innovative and creative ways to fund our future. However, we still need the partnership of the Commonwealth to continue to make progress in creating the educational and research environment necessary to achieve our ambitions and move Kentucky forward.”


Even as revenue sources have shifted in recent years, Capilouto said that state funds continue to be of vital importance to the university’s academic enterprise — representing almost 50 percent of the General Fund budget for colleges and libraries.


The consolidated budget — being considered Tuesday by the UK Board of Trustees — is expected to increase about $300 million over 2013-2014 and to have doubled since 2004-2005, university officials said. The growth from last year — and over the last decade — is largely the result of three factors, Capilouto told trustees:


  • Growth in the student population over the last decade from 26,545 to 29,385. The last three years UK has experienced record first-year classes, and this coming year the university is budgeting for a record 4,800 first-year students.
  • At the same time, the percentage of out-of-state students has increased from about 25 percent among first-year students to more than 30 percent last year.
  • A nearly $175 million increase in revenues from last year for the UK HealthCare system — from $987.8 million to more than $1.1 billion, a 17.6 percent increase. In the last 10 years, UK HealthCare revenues have grown to more than $1 billion from about $300 million as patient volumes have nearly doubled.


In fact, UK HealthCare now accounts for about 40 percent of the university's budget, up from 24 percent just a decade ago. A decade ago, tuition and fees represented about 12.5 percent of the university's budget; this coming year that figure will have increased slightly, to 14.3 percent. However, as state support has declined, the university has relied more heavily on tuition and fees, which this coming year will represent about $432 million of the institution's budget, while state support is about $280 million. Ten years ago, state support accounted for $296 million of the university's budget while tuition and fees were about $186 million.


Other key elements of the proposed budget include:


  • A capital budget of active construction projects totaling about $1.1 billion. The 27 projects include the continued fit-out of Chandler Hospital, the Gatton College of Business and Economics, Commonwealth Stadium and the new Academic Science Building, about two-thirds of which is being funded by UK Athletics.
  • Capilouto noted that even with the large amount of construction occurring, the level of debt service as a percentage of the university's budget remains small and is, in fact, declining this coming year, from 3.33 percent to 3.23 percent. "It underscores the strong financial management of the institution and the capacity to grow to meet the needs of the state, particularly by adding more research space, which we increasingly need," Capilouto said.
  • A merit salary pool of 2 percent for faculty and staff, a continuation of salary increases, which Capilouto and the Board of Trustees have indicated as a top priority in retaining top teachers, researchers and staff. This budget would mark the first time since 2007-08 that campus employees will have received merit salary increases two years in a row. Last year, the university funded a 5 percent merit pool.
  • UK will continue to hold the cost on employee premiums for health benefits.  Most health plans will increase by only 2 percent.


"We are growing even in the midst of what remain challenging times economically," Capilouto said. "That is a direct result of our people — the faculty, staff and students who are transforming UK into one of the top public residential research campuses in America. Importantly, we are funding much of that growth through our resourcefulness and the generosity of donors who know how special this place is and who know the return on investment is high.


But even our own internal capacity, as significant as it is, has limits. To take the next step, to grow the research capacity we need for both faculty and students, will require additional investment with — and partnership from — the state. We can and will be making that case strongly over the next several months. We believe — we know — we can show the investment will more than pay off for the Commonwealth we serve."


The budget presentation made to the UK Board of Trustees is attached as a PowerPoint below or available here.


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