As WKU prepares for budget cuts ahead of the next fiscal year, another Kentucky university is making plans ahead of its next budget.
The Eastern Kentucky University board of regents has approved a spending plan that includes a three-percent in-state undergraduate tuition increase and no raises for employees. The three-percent tuition hike is the maximum allowed by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
WKU President Gary Ransdell had asked the CPE for a five-percent undergraduate tuition increase, saying it was needed to help the school move forward without budget cuts.
Dr. Ransdell says WKU will now have to look at cuts that will include personnel reductions. WKU vice-presidents have given Ransdell preliminary plans for cuts in their departments.
The issue will be taken up by the school’s board of regents at their meeting in late June.
The newest member of WKU’s women’s basketball coaching staff is no stranger to head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Candyce Bingham was a member of Louisville’s 2009 national finalist team, and played her junior and senior seasons when Clark-Heard was a U of L assistant coach.
Bingham helped lead the Cardinals to a 34-5 record and a national championship game appearance her senior season at Louisville, and was a graduate assistant at Louisville this past season. In a news release, Clark-Heard said Bingham would bring “great energy and enthusiasm” to the WKU women’s basketball coaching staff.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education voted Thursday to cap tuition increases for in-state undergraduate students at the state’s public schools at three percent. It’s the smallest average tuition hike for Kentucky’s public institutions in 15 years.
WKU President Gary Ransdell spoke to the CPE at its meeting at Lindsey Wilson College, and asked for a five percent increase for WKU.
In an email to faculty and staff Thursday afternoon, Dr. Ransdell said WKU will have to endure a budget cut due to the smaller-than-hoped-for tuition increase.
"A five percent increase would have given us a balanced budget for next year with no cuts," the WKU President wrote. "This CPE action, however, means that we have budget work to do before taking a balanced budget to our Board of Regents in June."
"We will take this in stride as we have done for the last several years. I have asked the Vice Presidents to begin making recommendations as we begin budget reduction conversations on Monday. Every effort will be made to protect as many jobs as possible and to act in the best interest of our students and employees. I will be back in touch in due course as options take shape. "
CPE President Bob King said the board felt that tuition increases should be kept "as minimal as possible" given the "challenging economic environment" that students are facing.