UofL passes $1.2B budget; president says it's 'not ideal'

Neeli Bendapudi
Neeli Bendapudi
Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 2:35 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The UofL Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a $1.2 billion budget that will leave students paying higher tuition as the school tries to move forward following several embarrassing scandals and a reduction in state appropriations.

The university said in a release Wednesday that the new budget will focus on improving student success, enhancing recruitment and retention and improving the university's financial sustainability.

The budget includes $5 million for student recruitment, $5 million for student success and retention initiatives and nearly $4 million for additional financial aid.

In-state undergraduate students will see a 3.5-percent tuition and fee increase, to $11,460 per year, which includes a 50-percent cut in the student athletics fee, from $50 to $25 per semester. In-state graduate students will experience a 3.6-percent increase, to $12,684.

New UofL President Neeli Bendapudi stressed that officials worked to keep increases low and to direct additional funding to services and programs that benefit students.

"This budget is not ideal, but we have to work with the financial resources we have," Bendapudi said. "We are focused on protecting and improving the education and the university experience for all our students."

The university also will experience a 5-percent cut to its general fund budget, which equates to a 1.7-percent cut to its overall budget. Deans, vice presidents and other campus leaders will determine how to make the cuts in their units.

UofL continues to deal with diminishing state funding, a huge budget deficit created by a previous administration and a push from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to improve its liquidity, or cash on hand. The state appropriation for UofL dropped 5 percent, from $132.8 million to $126.7 million.

"I ask for your patience and support as we make changes to strengthen the university while dealing with our fiscal reality," Bendapudi said in a recent note to faculty and staff.

Calling the current budget a "short-term fix," she promised that long-term solutions will be developed with the students' best interests in mind.

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