2014-2015 fiscal budget, tuition increase approved

Trey Crumbie

The 2014-2015 fiscal budget was approved Friday morning by the Board of Regents. The total budget is $392.29 million. This is a .4 percent, or a $1.66 million, decrease from the previous fiscal budget.

Nearly $191.2 million or 48.8 percent, of WKU’s budget will come from tuition and fees. State appropriations operating will account for $69.8 million or 17.8 percent, of the budget.

The budget includes a 4.8 percent tuition increase for undergraduate, resident students. This translates to an increase of $209 a semester. Undergraduate nonresidents and international students will pay $552 more a semester.  

Ann Mead, vice president for finance and administration, said the budget was based on fall 2013 enrollment. If enrollment were to drop in fall 2014, another budget reduction is possible.

President Gary Ransdell said tough decisions had to be made in regards to the budget. One of those decisions was to privatize Health Services. Ransdell said the decision did affect employees of Health Services.

“That service is going to be retained,” Ransdell said. “And the health center is going to march forward, efficiently and effectively, but there were still jobs lost in the decision to privatize the health center…”

51 percent of Unrestricted Education and General funds will go to Academic Affairs. Unrestricted Education and General funds account for 78 percent of the total budget.

Several departments experienced a cut in their budgets due to a decrease in state appropriations and money from tuition. Divisions undergoing a budget cut include Academic Affairs (approximately $3.1 million), Athletics ($80,000) and Student Affairs ($96,000). The total budget cuts and base reallocations amount to approximately $5.3 million.

The budget was approved with two opposition votes, Faculty Regent Patricia Minter and Student Regent Keyana Boka. Boka said the main reason she voted against the budget was the tuition increase.

“Every day I know of students that complain about tuition and it is breaking point and I’m most concerned about the financial threshold for all students,” Boka said.

Minter voted against it because some faculty had concerns of where the money was being spent, specifically construction and entertainment pursuits, such as athletics, over academic interests.

“We must invest in our human resources, in our faculty and our staff, if we are really serious about becoming a leading university with international reach, instead of just saying we are,” Minter said.

The 2014-2015 Board of Slate of Officers was also approved.