UofL budget gives students chance to negate tuition increase

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has approved a $548.3 million 2016-17 general fund budget that gives students the opportunity to manage tuition costs with zero increase.

     The board also adopted a biennial approach to tuition setting that guarantees tuition rates will not increase in 2017-18.

     The operating budget approved at a board meeting today raises tuition by 5 percent in the 2016-17 academic year but allows students who complete 30 hours of course work during the year and remain in good academic standing to receive a 5-percent credit, which can be applied to the following year’s tuition. This innovative tuition program makes UofL the only university in the state to essentially freeze tuition for undergraduate students meeting a minimum-performance standard.

     “UofL’s ‘Credit for Credits’ program meets gubernatorial and legislative directives related to performance-based funding and continues our pursuit of further improving the university’s graduation rate,” said UofL Acting President Neville Pinto.

     The new plan budget drew positive reviews from Student Government Association President Aaron Vance, a member of the board.

     “We appreciate the diligence of the board and administration in ensuring that tuition will not be raised in the 2017-18 academic year and the interest in developing innovative and creative solutions,” he said. “We are happy that the student voice was heard in this process, and we will continue to advocate for more affordable education for UofL students.”

     Pinto said the new budget makes it clear where the university’s priorities lie.

     “We must continue to invest in our people – our faculty and staff; we must increase funding for strategic program initiatives as identified in the University of the 21st Century; and we must continue our focus on student success,” he said.

     Highlights of the new budget include:

     

    • $2.7 million more for student financial aid, including $500,000 in need-based aid;
    • $4.2 million for faculty and staff merit increases (including fringe benefits), except for the highest paid board-appointed administrators;
    • $2.4 million for faculty and staff equity adjustments (including fringe benefits);
    • Increase in the living wage from $10.50 per hour to $10.75 for eligible employees;
    • $2 million for a strategic initiative fund for academic priorities in support of the 21st Century University Initiative: Powering the 2020 Plan;
    • A $1.1 million reduction in administrative support unit budgets; and
    • Additional administrative efficiencies equal to $1.9 million.

     

    Pinto stressed that UofL has been able to offset rising costs, as well as the state’s $6.26 million budget cut to the university, without general fund cuts to unit budgets and with no universitywide layoffs. Instead, the university has funded the improvements through effective fiscal management and innovative programs that earn money to support the academic enterprise.        

    Other items of importance in the budget include:

     

      • A 2-percent increase in housing costs for the more than 5,000 students who will be living on campus in academic year 2016-17. Campus housing has dramatically improved over the past decade, and new living-learning communities are available to students this fall.
      • The fee schedule approved in the operating budget relates to technology, services and supplies in selected course areas.
    • The meal plan structure is based upon residency status, increased food venues and improved nutritional value. These options should be more attractive to students.

     

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    John Karman, III
    John Karman joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2014 after a 20-plus year career as a Louisville journalist. He has served as director of media relations since 2015. In that role, he answers reporters’ inquiries and is the university’s main spokesperson. John was a reporter for Business First of Louisville from 1999 to 2013. There, he won numerous awards from the Louisville chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and American City Business Journals, parent company to Business First. John can die happy after seeing the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, although he would also enjoy another title.