Declining funds paint a grim future for U of L

By on January 30, 2018

By Shelby Brown —

U of L hopes to combat its bleak financial future by growing enrollment 36 percent over the next few years to avoid raising tuition. With state appropriations and donations on the decline, foundation members said U of L is again in a precarious position, according to WDRB.

“If this were a private enterprise, it would be very concerning; you wonder about the efficacy of the business model. I hate to use the word ‘ominous,’ but it is,” board of trustees chairman David Grissom said at Jan. 30’s foundation meeting.

Interim president Greg Postel said the proposed 2018-19 budget cuts would reduce the university’s funding to 1998 levels and U of L might have to consider “privatization.”

Postel advocated on behalf of post-secondary education and U of L’s funding in Frankfort Jan. 25. Postel said the university would rather grow enrollment and “capture” more tuition instead of raising tuition.

At the meeting, Postel told reporters 8,000 students could be added in about five years, but almost half might be in online classes.

Donor pledges to the university, athletics included, plunged from $75 million to $43 million between the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016 to last year.

In October 2017, administration hoped to see donor return after the release of the foundation’s forensic audit. After the release, the foundation began reforming spending and cleaning out former administration. In August, the James Graham Brown Foundation and C.E. and S. Foundation pledged $1 million to help pay the audit tab.

In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2015-16, donor pledges dropped 57 percent. In May 2017, Cambridge Associates, an investment company, suggested conservative operations going forward for the foundation.  The foundation hoped doing so would bring donors back.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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