Board talks budget and physical therapy delay

Cameron Koch

The university budget took center stage at the Board of Regents committee meetings on Friday, sharing the floor with news on the doctor of physical therapy.

Since 2009 WKU has lost around $9 million in state funding and will most likely lose another $5 million between 2012 and 2014 alone due to state cuts to all of postsecondary education, said Budget Director Kim Reed.

Reed, who discussed how the university budget is being assembled, said Academic Affairs requires the highest amount of resources, equaling almost $174 million.

President Gary Ransdell during the meeting talked about how hard it is to make cuts while at the same time avoiding layoffs and furloughs.

“You begin to see how much you are limited in implementing that cut,” Ransdell said. “It makes it really difficult when you are trying to protect your employees.”

According to Reed’s presentation, almost 43 percent of WKU’s revenue comes from student tuition and fees, equaling $165 million in the 2012 fiscal year. The budget is being put together expecting a 5 percent tuition hike to offset the state cuts.

Ransdell informed the board of a hiccup on the road to get the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program off the ground. Several layers of certification and approval are needed for the program, but due to a setback, the program will not launch as expected this fall.

The Board of Regents approved the program at the board meeting in January 2012, and it was then sent to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education for approval, which allows for a 45-day staff review and comment period. That comment period has now ended.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools must also review and approve the program, which is currently underway. As a result, the deadline of March 1 to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education for accreditation of the program has been missed.

The university plans on receiving approval for the program at the next CAPTE review cycle, to take place in December.

Both Ransdell and John Bonaguro, dean of the college of Health and Human Services, described the turn of events as “disappointing.”