The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has approved the school’s budget for next year that includes pay raises, tuition increases and no statewide funding cuts.
“The good news is we’re not being cut next year. The bad news is we’re not getting any new money,” says U of L president James Ramsey, adding the school has faced 13 separate budget cuts over a 12 year period.
Kentucky did fund increases in 2005 and 2006, but following the recession the state cut higher education which meant $9 million the current fiscal year.
The board’s approval of the $496 million general fund budget follows recent news that the university will see its largest incoming freshmen enrollment this year, which has been party attributed to the success of its athletic program. The athletic department budget will grow next year by 8 percent to $77 million, according to U of L officials.
U of L’s budget includes a 3 percent undergraduate tuition increase (the smallest undergraduate tuition increase in 14 years) and a 5 percent graduate tuition increase (the lowest graduate increase since 1997).
All tuition increases—including those for professional degrees, like dentistry, medicine and law—will add an extra $8 million more next fiscal year.
U of L is also offering eligible staff and faculty its first salary increase (around 4 percent) in the past several years, Ramsey says.
In 2002, students covered around 36 percent of the cost of public education, according to the budget. Now, students cover around 61 percent of the costs. It’s a trend that’s “mirrored nationwide,” as students have picked up more of the tab to fund higher education.
“It’s been a hard time for all of higher education. We’ve all been cut. In terms of the academic progress that we’ve made at the University of Louisville, I don’t think there’s any school in the state that compares with us,” Ramsey says.
Other highlights include increased revenue from U of L’s online education programs. There has been a $1.2 million boost this fiscal year in online programming revenue, creating around $16.5 million total for the university. This represents a nearly 150 percent increase over the last six years.
University housing—which will increase rates 3 percent—is generating less money for the school as more off-campus housing options have become available over the last three years.