“We are provided resources to do our vital work from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and federal government; from donors, alumni and friends of the university; and from families and loved ones who entrust us with the most precious asset we share — our students,” said UK President Eli Capilouto, whose contract was extended for three years in another board action.
“How we spend and invest those resources in the course of a year, and over the long arc of time, says a great deal about who we are and what we aspire to be as the University of, for and with Kentucky. Indeed, those budget decisions — and the values and priorities they reveal — have never been more important to our institution, to Kentucky and to the broader world we serve.”
The $4.4 billion budget the board approved includes provisions to:
- Increase tuition for Kentucky resident students by only 1% — from $6,180 to $6,242 this fall — an acknowledgment of the need to continue to preserve access and affordability. The four-year average change in tuition now is 2.5%, the lowest rate increases on average in more than 35 years.
- Invest $148 million in institutional scholarships and financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid.
- Ensure affordability for students and families that need it most: In the last nine years, institutional financial aid at UK has increased by more than 180%, and through the UK LEADS program, the university has lowered unmet financial need on campus overall. Nearly 90% of Kentucky students received financial aid in fall 2019, and their out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and mandatory fees was, on average, less than $1,500 for the semester.
- Cover more than 100% of tuition and fees, on average, for the 25% of undergraduate students from Kentucky who come from families with a median income of less than $22,000 annually.
- Ensure a proposed budget with no reductions in force, even as the institution closes a more than $70 million shortfall in the wake of COVID-19.
- Freeze health premiums for employees.
- Continue commitments to graduate students for stipends and increasing investments in support services for them.
- With an additional investment of $500,000, invest a total of $2.25 million to assist the deans in hiring a diverse faculty.
“Our world, in so many ways, has never seemed more anxious or fraught with peril. Divides and disparities, at times, seem insoluble and insurmountable. But we exist to serve Kentucky, to reimagine and reinvent what is possible,” Capilouto said.
“Now, more than ever, the work we do — to educate, research, heal, create and serve — has never been more essential. Now, more than ever, we are poised with a deep sense of compassion and an unyielding level of commitment, to make a difference for our Commonwealth and the world we serve. It is who we are. It is what we do.”