Enrollment creates problems for WKU budget

Trey Crumbie

The 3.2 percent drop in enrollment could have deep and more long-term implications for WKU programs.

The total enrollment for this fall semester is down 668 students. This translates to a $1.6 million gap in the university’s budget.

President Gary Ransdell said the loss of revenue that occurred as a result of the enrollment drop would be made up using one-time funds from departments across the university.

Many departments have unspent money that carried over from the last fiscal year. Now, money that would have stayed in department budgets may be needed to fill the tuition shortfall, Ransdell said.

Last spring, WKU was forced to make cuts to recoup $2.1 million after the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education set the maximum tuition increase for all public state universities at 3 percent, rather than the 5 percent WKU planned for.

Several university programs were cut or had their budgets reduced, including Student Publications, the Campus Activities Board and the Athletics Department.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said no decision about budget changes will be made until next semester.

“We budget tuition on an annual basis,” Mead said. “A semester is not what we’re focused on it. So we will have to see how spring enrollment comes in and the associated revenue and then we’ll make decisions after that.”

Keyana Boka, Student Government Association President, said she didn’t know if SGA will get their funding cut to recoup the loss. SGA did not receive an annual budget increase this year as a result of the budget cuts in the spring.

“I think it would put SGA at a disadvantage given our programs and services that we do,” Boka said.