LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will consider increasing investments in student scholarships and financial aid by 12.5 percent in 2016-2017 – a record $117 million to help ensure greater access and affordability.
That increased investment in scholarships and aid is part of a $3.5 billion budget for 2016-2017 President Eli Capilouto will propose to the UK Board of Trustees at their June meeting. The university’s funding priorities focus on improving student success – with goals of 90 percent retention and 70 percent graduation rates by 2020 – and objectives included in the recently adopted strategic plan. UK President Eli Capilouto said the “record investment represents an intentional and focused effort to place students at the center of everything that we do.”
“An institutional budget signals for everyone our priorities. You fund what you care about,” Capilouto said. “As the university for Kentucky, this budget represents investments in the strategic goals and objectives that our board made a priority in October 2015 when they endorsed the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. It invests in student success and academic excellence, research and care that tackles our Commonwealth’s most pressing challenges and creating and sustaining a community where everyone is welcome regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, perspective, or identity. And it invests in our people, who do the remarkable work essential to the success of our students and our Commonwealth.”
UK’s 2020 strategic plan calls for increasing graduation rates to 70 percent, growing total research expenditures to more than $350 million annually, and further expanding diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community. Capilouto said the budget being considered by the UK board contains significant investments in all those strategic plan goals.
“The proposed capital and operating budget further invests in the priorities outlined in the university’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, endorsed by the board at its October retreat,” said UK Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Britt Brockman. “This is the right direction for the university to move in achieving its bold agenda for improving student success, enhancing research and discovery, fostering an inclusive campus community, and continuing to serve Kentucky and heal patients.”
Highlights of the budget include:
• A proposed 5 percent increase in tuition and fees for in-state or resident students, from $5,390 a semester in 2015-2016 to $5,660 in fall 2016-2017; out-of-state or non-resident tuition and fees will increase by 8.5 percent. UK officials expect to enroll another first-year class of well more than 5,000 students with about two-thirds of those students being from Kentucky.
• Average tuition and fee increases for the last five years for UK students are approximately 4 percent for the first time in nearly 10 years. Since 2007, the average out-of-pocket tuition and mandatory fee expense for resident students has increased by only $364 per semester because of UK’s additional investment in financial aid and scholarships.
• A merit pay raise of 2 percent for faculty and staff to take effect in September – the fourth consecutive year of pay raises for UK employees as part of an effort to ensure regular, predictable increases to provide competitive compensation to retain the best instructors, researchers and support staff.
• A realignment of more than $6 million in areas under the Office of the Provost, focused on student success, as well as in Facilities Management and the colleges of Medicine and Agriculture, Food and Environment. The realignment is part of an effort to increase investments in areas of direct student support like advising and counseling. Up to 75 jobs are being impacted as part of the realignment and reallocation.
• The provost and the colleges also are working on initiatives through realignment to invest millions more in student success at the college level and targeted research efforts that are responsive to UK’s Strategic Plan.
• Another $7 million in increased revenues and efficiencies through areas such as energy conservation, campus sponsorships and more efficient e-payments of bills.
“Our focus is student success. Our focus is Kentucky. Our focus is creating a campus community where both students and discovery can and do thrive,” said Tim Tracy, UK’s provost. “In this budget, we are focused more than ever before on matching money to our mission – a mission of education, research, care and service as the university for Kentucky.”
Analysis and decision-making about how best to fund that mission began in October 2015 following the Board of Trustees’ adoption of the new Strategic Plan. It has required several months of work to evaluate key funding needs as well as identifying mechanisms to generate the resources to fund institutional goals and priorities, university officials said.
UK, for example, had more than $48 million in projected funding needs that had to be addressed in the wake of decreased levels of state support, increases in compensation, expanded scholarships and aid that students don’t have to repay, and other fixed costs, such as utilities. Those funding needs are being addressed through realignment initiatives, increased revenues gained through more efficient operations and tuition.
“We undergo this process of strategic reallocation and realignment each year,” said Eric N. Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration. “President Capilouto and the board have set forth clear budget goals – access and affordability for our students; competitive compensation; no across the board cuts; an increasing commitment to diversity and inclusion across the campus. This proposed budget represents our efforts in each of those key areas to fund our priorities and our plans for the future.”