Campus News

Tuition Rate of Increase at Lowest in More Than Decade

LEXINGTON Ky. (March 16, 2015) — Emphasizing a commitment to affordable education, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Monday approved a tuition and mandatory fee proposal that would bring the four-year average rate of increase for resident students to its lowest levels in nearly a decade.

The increase for resident undergraduates in Fall 2015 will be 3 percent, or $158 per semester, bringing Kentucky first-year tuition to $10,780.

That tuition level will bring the average rate of increase for the last four years to 4.25 percent — well below the more than 10 percent rolling average annual increases of 2005 to 2008.

"We have made a strategic and thoughtful effort to slow the rate of increases in tuition for our students. At the same time, through efficiency and hard work, we've sought to more competitively pay our faculty and staff while also finding innovative paths and partnerships for rebuilding and transforming our campus," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "Our eyes have always been firmly fixed on the needs of our students and their families. We have increased each and every year by millions of dollars our commitment to financial aid that does not have to be repaid by students and their families.

Today, we are taking another step forward in our commitment to ensuring an incomparable educational experience in a community like no other — one of the country's thriving residential, public research campuses."

"At the University of Kentucky, we are committed to putting students first in everything that we do," said Keith Gannon, chair of the UK Board of Trustees. "That commitment is evidenced in the steps we have taken to invest more in student aid and to continue to lower the rate of increase for tuition, all while investing more in facilities and technology that support students and their learning needs."

UK is in the process of self-financing some $1.5 billion in construction across the campus, much of it through public-private partnerships designed to build high-quality facilities for students at the most affordable prices possible.

In the budget that will be proposed to the board in June, the institution will invest $101 million in university funded student financial aid — an increase of about $15 million, or 17 percent. If adopted, since 2008, UK will have more than doubled the budget for student financial aid including adding more than $25 million since 2014 alone.

With the increases in financial aid, in Fall 2014, 85 percent of full-time resident students received aid that did not have to be repaid. On average, these students had to pay $1,278 out-of-pocket for tuition in the Fall 2014 semester — an increase of a little more than $400 since 2010.

Moreover, 53 percent of the Fall 2007 cohort of entering students that graduated within six years had no student loans; 47 percent had debt. Of those graduates with debt, the average total amount of student loans was $26,976.

Even as institutional aid has risen and debt remained relatively constant, state appropriations as a percent of public funds for university operations have declined to 43 percent in 2015 from 63 percent in 2008.

In raw numbers, recurring state appropriations have been cut $55 million.

"We are extremely sensitive to the cost of education for our students and their families," Capilouto said. "Even as tuition has risen to ensure that we can pay for the education we provide, we have increased institutional aid and taken other measures to keep this high-quality education affordable to Kentuckians."

Other key components of the Board of Trustees action include:

  • Non-resident students will see tuition rates increase by 6 percent. Non-resident tuition rates are required by the state to be at least two times the resident tuition rates.
  • Resident and non-resident graduate students will receive 3 percent and 6 percent increases, respectively.
  • The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is expected to vote on UK’s proposal in April.

The board also reviewed housing and dining rates for 2015-2016:

  • Like tuition, most housing rates will increase by 3 percent.
  • Dining rates will increase by 3.5 percent for the minimum seven meals per week plan. The seven-day unlimited plan will increase by 2.4 percent and there will be no change in the rate for the 10 meals per week plan.
  • All other dining plans will increase 3.2 to 3.6 percent.
  • The housing and dining rates are per agreements with public-private partners, partnerships that Capilouto noted are helping ensure only modest increases while expanding offerings and service to students.

"These innovative public-private partnerships have enabled UK to move quickly to build technology rich living and learning spaces while also expanding the quality of the food service we provide to students," Capilouto said. "We could not have accelerated and expanded this level of service without these partnerships."

Almost 4,600 new high-tech beds in 10 residence halls and learning communities will have been built between fall 2013 and fall 2015.

UK had its largest first-year class in history in Fall 2014, with 5,185 students. Enrollment also exceeded 30,000 students for the first time. Subscription rates for new housing assignments were well over 100 percent.

Moreover, in 2014, UK inked a 15-year, nearly $250 million partnership with Aramark to create UK Dining. As a result of the partnership, prices for UK's six current student meal plans last year were significantly reduced, with the most expensive plan falling in price by 26 percent or about $740 per semester.

Even as prices were being reduced, significant investments and upgrades to dining facilities were being made by Aramark as part of its partnership agreement.

Nearly $70 million in facilities investments, including $40 million in new facilities have been -- or are being -- made.

Already constructed are the new K-Lair at Haggin Hall, Einstein Bagels at Chemistry Physics, Rising Roll at Ralph G. Anderson Hall, and Common Grounds at Champions Court I as well as upgrades to the Student Center Food Court.  A newly constructed facility — The 90 — will be ready for Fall 2015 and will feature Kentucky Proud products and sustainable design elements.

"We aren't building for ourselves. We are building for our future. And that future is our students — the young men and women of this Commonwealth who are being educated at the University of Kentucky," Capilouto said. "Everything we do is designed to put their success first. What we build, how we finance it, and the efforts we take to make that outstanding educational experience affordable — all of it is designed with our students in mind."