WKU could receive funding back from state for Reserve Fund

File photo of Cherry Hall.

Herald Staff

President Gary Ransdell, in an email to faculty and staff,  announced that $1,493,000 which was drawn from the WKU Reserve Fund in response to Governor Matt Bevin’s 2 percent cut to universities may be returned to WKU.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Bevin overstepped his authority when he removed a total of $18 million from state universities’ budgets earlier this year. 

“The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the withdrawal of College and University Funds at the end of the last fiscal year was unauthorized in the absence of General Assembly approval.  Therefore, the $1,493,000 that was drawn from the WKU Reserve Fund to meet this obligation may now be returned to the campus.  When it is received, it will be placed back into the Reserve Fund,” Ransdell said in the email. 

In an attempt to aid the state’s underfunded pension system, Bevin asked state legislators in January to consider a 4.5 percent cut to the budgets of all universities.

However, Bevin ordered the universities to return 2 percent of their budgets despite not having the consent of the General Assembly.

Ransdell also announced that the Council on Postsecondary Education had approved Kentucky’s membership into the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

SARA, according to their website, is “an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.”

For WKU, this allows the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) to support distance programs that enroll students from other states without having to pay an authorization fee in those states to do so, Ransdell said. 

“We favor membership in SARA because we believe we have the opportunity to enhance our online enrollments more than we might lose students to other institutions in other states, and we support our on-campus programs, made richer with extensive out-of-state internship, practicum, clinical, and field experiences,” he said in the email.