UofL president warns of tuition increase, layoffs after budget c - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

UofL president warns of tuition increase, layoffs after budget cuts

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University of Louisville President James Ramsey University of Louisville President James Ramsey
House Speaker Greg Stumbo House Speaker Greg Stumbo
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto
Gov. Steve Beshear Gov. Steve Beshear

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – University of Louisville President James Ramsey told lawmakers Thursday that proposed budget cuts would lead to higher tuition and possible layoffs.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he expected the House to pass a budget that would be very similar to Gov. Steve Beshear's recommendations. Beshear has proposed a 2.5 percent funding decrease for higher education.

Ramsey and University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto asked lawmakers to reverse the cuts while continuing to fund capital projects through state borrowing.

"We'll continue to do all that we've talked about -- trying to manage costs, being creative, fundraising -- to keep moving forward," Ramsey said. "But it's hard without the state support."

UofL capped admissions in 2013, lacking the space for additional classes. Tuition has increased as the state funding has declined. The university is also losing talented faculty members to other schools that can afford to pay them more, Ramsey said.

After the meeting, Ramsey said he couldn't predict how much tuition would increase with a new round of state cuts. He said he would protect against campus-wide layoffs.

Pressed to say whether he'd rather lawmakers restore the 2.5 percent in funding or move forward with $80 million in state bonds for a new classroom building on the Belknap campus, Ramsey said he'd prefer the funding.

"It's like choosing between your children - they're all important. We've got to have operating increases. But we'll continue to limit enrollment if we don't have new space," he said.

Ramsey continued to advocate for expanded gaming and tax code changes that would bring in additional revenue for the state. But lawmakers have shown no signs of progress on those issues.

"I would say exactly what I've been saying to them - we ain't got more money to give you," House Speaker Greg Stumbo said. "They're just going have to make due with what they have. And they've done a pretty good job of making due."

Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, said he questioned how serious lawmakers were about making changes to the state's tax code.

Capilouto showed lawmakers charts that indicated state funding had become a much smaller percentage of his university's overall budget.

"We are doing more with less, but that's becoming more difficult," he said.

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, asked the university presidents if they were drawing from athletic department revenue to fund academic programs.

Ramsey said athletics have unstable revenue because of weather conditions, ticket sales and television revenue. But the presidents said money from the athletic departments was flowing to academics.

Lawmakers must pass a budget before the session ends in April.

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