Education
12:52 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Ransdell: WKU Not Expecting Big Tuition Hike to Counteract Proposed State Funding Cuts

WKU President Gary Ransdell
Credit WKU

The President of WKU says he’s not counting on a big tuition increase to help offset a proposed cut in state funding for universities.

Dr. Gary Ransdell says he believes the Council on Postsecondary Education will cap the next round of potential tuition increases at about three percent.

That’s the increase the CPE set last April for in-state undergraduate students beginning this fall. President Ransdell told WKU Public Radio that it’s probably not realistic to expect anything more than that.

“Even if the CPE would allow a higher number, we’re not likely to go there,” Dr. Ransdell said during a break in Friday’s Board of Regents meeting. “So we’re going to have a modest tuition increase. Every year there’s going to be a tuition increase. It will simply cover our fixed-cost increases. These other items are going to have to be funded in some other way—probably through redirection of funds within our budget.”

The proposed budget announced by Governor Beshear this week includes a 2.5 percent spending reduction for state universities, which amounts to a loss of $1.8 million for WKU in fiscal year 2015.

Kentucky minimum wage increase?

A proposed increase in Kentucky’s minimum wage would add an estimated $419,000 to WKU's current payroll obligations. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring legislation that would boost the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour.

WKU President Gary Ransdell says he understands the minimum wage issue is a sensitive one for many people.

“It’s hard to speak against it, because—of course—it may be necessary, and it’s obviously important. But it does have a cost, and we’ve got a lot of student jobs across campus, a lot of minimum wage jobs—and it’s almost all students.”

House Speaker Stumbo says a minimum wage boost is needed to keep wages in line with inflation, and would help struggling working-class families across Kentucky.

Gov. Beshear didn’t mention increasing the minimum wage during his budget address Tuesday.