Members of WKU’s Student Government Association met with state representatives and senators to discuss maintaining funding for higher education in hopes of preventing a surge in tuition. SGA’s senate meeting on Tuesday night began with SGA President Andi Dahmer recapping the trip to lobby in Frankfort for higher education.
SGA members of eight public universities in Kentucky met in Frankfort to discuss budget concerns for their universities. WKU could face a budget deficit of up to $40 million, which includes the internal budget deficit, $9 million WKU is required to pay for pension and the potential $4.6 million decrease in state funding.
Dahmer said she wanted to hear testimonies and opinions from students before she participates in conversations later this month to discuss how much tuition will be increased. The Kentucky legislature sets a 6 percent maximum tuition increase that allows universities to choose the percentage up to the maximum that tuition will be increased.
Dahmer said with such a big crisis, the percentage could be renegotiated allowing more opportunities for universities to increase tuition.
“We were talking to our state legislatures about how important it is that students have representation in Frankfort,” Dahmer said. “[And that] they minimize those cuts as much as possible because students should not have to bare the requirements of the state on their backs.”
Dahmer said she believes students shouldn’t have to increase loans and pay increased tuition money because of reconciling the state’s budget.
Dahmer also suggested exploring replacing safety lights around campus for a cell phone app that would allow students to call for help in case of a security emergency while on campus.
WKU purchased Rave Guardian last year. The cell phone app allows users to call for help on their phone as an alternative to safety lights on campus. Dahmer said the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky realized safety lights were not being utilized. She said she felt it was important to consider the use on WKU’s campus.
“I think that if we can use an app-based system that would be really beneficial,” Dahmer said. “Because it would have a wide access around campus. Blue lights are stationery, so they’re only in certain areas, but an app can be utilized basically anywhere.”
During the SGA meeting, a book scholarship was announced that allows students the opportunity to be reimbursed for books. The scholarship will be awarded to 10 WKU students based on need and does not limit students to purchases made from the WKU Bookstore.
News reporter Ambriehl Crutchfield can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Ambriehl on Twitter at @ambriehlc.