Financial woes voiced at tuition meeting

By on April 1, 2016
The Louisville Cardinal News

By Kyeland Jackson —

Presenting to students from health sciences and other departments, speakers discussed the problem of rising tuition. One of the primary concerns revolved around budget cuts forwarded through Governor Matt Bevin’s order.

Dean of Students Michael Mardis said he and the department “still don’t know” the direction the budget cuts and adjustments are headed. The department has a task force comprised of students and staff to give budget recommendations to the university. However, the final decision will come down to President James Ramsey and the Board of Trustees’ discretion.

“It was a political move by the governor,” Susan Howarth, U of L’s associate vice president of finance, said. “The budget cut is huge, it’s hard, it’s painful.”

With changes in the budget, tuition adjustments for each department are forwarded to the dean’s office. These adjustments, however, are often later in the year.

“We will not get our official tuition parameters until April 26,” Howarth said.

Students were concerned about the nature of late appropriations for awards and tuition amounts.

“I’m curious about if the dean cares about my tuition,” one student said. Many feel as though there is a lack of concern if the budget is given so late in the year. Another student said she’s depended on awards to come in before her rent payment, and said she would like to see the office warn them if awards will be held back.

Regardless of the concerns, Howarth gave positive highlights to the school’s trajectory. School debt rates after graduation are three percent lower than the state average. Citing one of Ramsey’s strategies to combat cuts, fundraising for the school reached over a billion dollars in June 2014. She believes Ramsey has contributed a lot to the university during his tenure.

“No one’s perfect and everyone’s made mistakes, but everything he’s done in the span of 15 budget cuts is really incredible,” Howarth said.

Towards the meeting’s conclusion, Howarth pressed for the importance of student input. She also touched on how a five percent budget cut would deter a large part of Bevin’s cuts, but Ramsey advocated for a lower rate based on the last three years.

“We take setting tuition seriously,” Howarth said.

About Kyeland Jackson

Editor-in-Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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