Universities plan tuition hikes after state funding cuts

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Kentucky universities are beginning to raise tuition in the wake of decreased funding from the state.

According to media reports, Northern Kentucky University’s Board of Regents passed a motion Wednesday for a 3 percent increase in undergraduate tuition. The board also called for a 3 percent increase in student housing and faculty and student parking costs.

The increase will apply to Kentucky resident, metro, nonresident, online and PACE tuition rates.

Tuition rates for graduate students will rise by 4.1 percent and by about 5.2 percent at the law school.

“We’re making these difficult decisions and creative decisions because they are compelled by our need to focus on our core mission, which is educating our students,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said.

At Eastern Kentucky University, the Board of Regents approved a 5 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduate students. The increase amounts to an additional $418 per student per year. Residence hall cost increases of 3.8 percent to 5.4 percent also gained board approval.

The board also approved cuts to save $1 million to $1.5 million.

Western Kentucky University is seeking a 4.5 percent tuition increase and millions in program and staff cuts to address a $6 million shortfall for the 2016-17 fiscal years.

Despite the budget cuts, the university is also planning a 3 percent increase in salary for full-time employees, WKU President Gary Ransdell said in a news release Wednesday. The salary increase is expected to be phased in over 12 months.

A document from the school shows program reductions in track and field programs, transit services and student legal services, among others.

“Our priority has always been to protect people, preserve academic quality and maintain student services, all of which are achieved by these actions,” Ransdell said in the release.

The increases come after an intense legislative session during which lawmakers approved Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s 4.5 percent spending cuts on colleges and universities, about $40 million altogether. Much of the state legislature’s debate focused on how the cuts would impact tuition for the upcoming school year.

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