University responds to opinion piece

By on May 22, 2017
Grawemeyer hall, thinker, thinker statue, u of l, louisville, university of louisville

To the editor:


John Drees, Interim Senior Associate Vice President
Communications and marketing

The editorial “Students bear the burden of foundation overspending” contained several errors and exaggerations. Most important, the writer made an inaccurate and unfair allegation that in addressing the university’s current budget shortfall, the Board of Trustees is willing to “throw the burden onto students.”

I’d like to make a few points about the proposed budget and about efforts by the Board of Trustees and by the university administration to limit any burden on our students:

  • Overall, nine trustees participated in budget workshops. All trustees had a chance to review and ask questions before last week’s full board meeting. And all trustees will have further opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback before the board votes on the budget at its June 15 meeting.
  • UofL tuition is not increasing in 2017-18. In fact, UofL is the only public university in Kentucky that is not raising tuition.
  • Factoring in the Credit for Credits program, which will kick in this fall, many students will actually pay less in tuition in 2017 than they did last year.
  • The board pushed President Greg Postel and the budget office to find a way to hold tuition steady for the next year or two. While making no promises, Postel and interim chief financial officer Susan Howarth agreed to explore ways to make that happen while continuing to advance the university.
  • The proposed housing increase is 3 percent, or anywhere from $23 to $92 per semester, depending on the hall and the plan. This increase is to address expected hikes in utilities, maintenance and operational costs.
  • If approved, parking for most students (purple permits) will increase $2 per year. Resident parking permits will increase $19 per year.
  • President Postel laid out the university’s effort to address the $41 million shortfall. It includes operational cost reductions, efficiencies in the university’s procurement processes, faculty/staff/administrator attrition and one-time funds from KentuckyOne Health. Increased costs to students played no role in meeting the shortfall.

Higher education is expensive, and students are right to be concerned about rising costs. As shown at last week’s meeting, the university and its Board of Trustees are working hard to keep costs down.  For the Cardinal to suggest otherwise is inaccurate and irresponsible.

 

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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