Campus News

Historic UK budget will expand access to health care, education to more Kentuckians

UK expects to welcome a record first-year class of approximately 6,400 students this fall and an overall enrollment of about 33,000. Arden Barnes | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees on Friday approved a $6.8 billion fiscal year 2023-24 budget for the institution that represents record-setting investments in the pillars of its mission — students, health care, research and service.

The budget — the largest in the institution’s history — is evidence that “UK is delivering on its promise to advance Kentucky,” said President Eli Capilouto. “We were created nearly 160 years ago with an essential mission and singular focus — to advance Kentucky — its health, its economy and its quality of life. With this budget, we demonstrate how we are honoring that mission today and how we are preparing to continue to honor our promise to the commonwealth for the future.”

The $6.8 billion budget is 21% larger than last year’s $5.6 billion original budget, a reflection of the acquisition and integration of King’s Daughters Medical Health System in Ashland into the university. The budget’s growth continues to be driven by the ongoing expansion of the university’s academic health system, its commitment to strategic growth of the student body and a thriving research enterprise. In fact, in 2011 when Capilouto arrived at UK the institution’s budget was $2.7 billion.

Additional details of the proposed budget include:

A promise to enroll and graduate more students

  • UK expects to welcome a record first-year class of approximately 6,400 students this fall and an overall enrollment of about 33,000. It’s the second year in a row first-year enrollment will exceed 6,000 students.
  • Even with the growth, UK expects to hit a record, six-year graduation rate of 70% and a five-year graduation rate that almost matches that milestone, underscoring successful efforts to accelerate retention levels.
  • UK will hold tuition increases, under the proposed budget, to 2.75% for Kentucky undergraduates — part of a continued commitment to ensuring access and affordability. Tuition for fall 2023 would be $6,606.00, up from $6,429.50 in Fall 2022.
  • If adopted, the tuition rate for Kentucky undergraduates will mean that the four-year average annual increase would be 1.7%, the third year in a row that the rolling average for increases is under 2%.
  • Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships that students do not have to repay will hit $285 million, including $165 million from institutional funds. More than 90% of full-time, resident undergraduates receive such aid. Last fall, those students paid, on average, less than $500 out-of-pocket for tuition and mandatory fees.
  • About 25% of Kentucky undergraduates come from families where the median family annual income is less than $25,000. Those students last fall paid no tuition and mandatory fees and received an additional, average amount of $3,171 in aid.

A promise to expand health care to more Kentuckians

  • The academic health system now represents approximately $4 billion of the institution’s budget — a 300% increase from a decade ago.
  • UK is in the design phases for approximately $2.4 billion in construction over the next several years, including expansion of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital footprint, an advanced cancer and ambulatory center and four ambulatory clinics throughout the region to provide greater access to care.

A promise to pursue discovery and answers

  • The proposed budget projects $494 million in revenue from research grants and contracts — the third straight year the research enterprise would top $400 million.
  • Much of that revenue is directed toward Research Priority Areas — a focused attempt to address Kentucky’s biggest challenges around cancer and diabetes, substance misuse and neuroscience, heart disease and energy as well as systemic issues around race and equity.

A promise to take care of the people who advance UK and the state

  • For the 10th time in 11 years, the proposed budget includes compensation increases for UK employees.
  • Nearly $30 million has been invested from central sources over the last two years (not including UK HealthCare) and represent the largest such investments in pay raises over a two-year period in more than 15 years.
  • UK will invest $12 million more in health care in the coming year, some $200 million for health coverage in 2023-24.
  • The university will increase the starting hourly rate for Federal Work Study student employees to $12 an hour. The Office of Student Success will implement the same starting hourly rates for its student employees.
  • UK is also implementing baseline graduate stipends, using national benchmarking data by academic discipline.

“This budget is an example of promises made and promises kept — for all those we serve throughout the Commonwealth,” Capilouto said. “I am confident with the continued compassion and commitment of our people and our community that we can meet this moment as long as we remain focused on the mission that has guided our path for nearly 160 years: to advance Kentucky in all that we do.”

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.