Tag Archives: budget cuts

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Brief: Ky. Senate passes budget

By Kaylee Ratliff–

The Kentucky Senate passed their version of the biennial budget on March 24. The Senate version restores some of the funds previously cut to higher education.

“Testimony on the floor indicated that the Senate considered the budget through a lens of a commitment to students and families and the impact of tuition and felt this overall approach was where the money could be best spent,” said Ramsey.

It did not fund Bucks for Brains, because it “would create additional debt to the state,” President Ramsey said in an email to staff. It also cut funding needed for a Belknap classroom building.

The proposed bill would not appropriate funds for the Quality and Charity Care Trust Fund, but “maintains funding for the Trover Campus at Madisonville,” according to Ramsey.

The bill is in the process of returning to the House where it is expected to fail. The conference committee will meet and resolving differences with the House. The final vote is anticipated for March 31.

“We are hopeful that the committee will find a way to restore the proposed funding for Bucks for Brains and allow us to make capital investments on our campus,” said Ramsey.

Photo courtesy Zimbio.com

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The War on Higher Education: Budget cuts increase cost of college

By Stewart Lewis–

“I am determined to reinvest in education with this upcoming budget,” the Democratic governor said while meeting with reporters in his Capitol office. “So if I have to cut some other areas to do it, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Though it has been a while since Governor Steve Beshear gave his budget address, not much has been mentioned around this campus about its impact on us, the students.

Despite claiming that the state needs to begin to restore funding cuts made during the recession to prevent any backsliding in education, Governor Beshear’s proposal includes an additional cut for post-secondary education.

Post-secondary education funding has already been heavily cut during Governor Beshear’s tenure. With his current budget, an additional 2.5 percent will be cut, making the total cuts for post-secondary education to a whopping 17.5 percent in his six years in office.

President Ramsey and President Eli Capilouto of the University of Kentucky addressed lawmakers on Thursday, warning that the governor’s budget could lead to higher tuition rates for students and layoffs for employees. President Ramsey stated that the current proposal would cut $3.5 million from the University of Louisville.

President Ramsey urged lawmakers to pass additional revenue generating measures, specifically expansions in gambling and tax reform.

The issue of the increased cost of college is directly caused by a bill, HB1, recently passed by the Kentucky House of Representatives. HB1 proposes a raise in minimum wage.

Under this bill, colleges will have to pay their workers more money, increasing the overall cost to students of higher education.

The cost of higher education issue should be very simple. Keep the minimum wage as is — pay the workers what they are actually worth, $10.10 (the proposed minimum wage) if they are worth it, and if they are only worth the current minimum wage ($7.25) they should improve their performance in order to earn a raise, not have one given to them.

However, in an article from a student at Western Kentucky University, the consequences of HB1 have become abundantly clear: an additional cost of near-as-makes-no-difference $1.3 million in an unfunded mandate, paid by you, the student. With the passage of HB1, the added cost of higher education due to an increase of the minimum wage will occur in Kentucky.

With this bill, sponsored by Democrat Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, and the most recent budget address by Beshear, it is time to realize that Kentucky Democrats are not being truthful in their determination to alleviate the costs of higher education.

It is far beyond time to get fiscally responsible people elected to office in the Commonwealth to finally start doing some things that make sense.

 

Photo courtesy of dyn.politico.com

Board of Trustees approve new positions

By Kaylee Ratliff–

U of L’s Board of Trustees approved two new positions this past Thursday. A senior vice president for finance and administration and a vice president for strategy and general counsel will be hired “very soon,” according to President James Ramsey.

The new positions come during a time where departmental embezzlement is still fresh in mind and proposed budget cuts may affect Ramsey’s $389.9 million Driving Economic Growth Projects.

Ramsey discussed the University of Louisville’s Driving Economic Growth Projects that are underway for the Belknap Campus. The estimated budget for construction cost is $389.9 million with 5,211 jobs being generated from these future projects.

One project is the Floyd Street project. A roundabout and rumble strips will be implemented at the intersection of Floyd and Brandeis, helping minimize traffic. According to Ramsey, this project will make drivers more aware that they are driving through campus.

“This project is really good for the campus,” said Ramsey. “It’s good for the appearance of campus, it’s good for economic development and it’s good for safety.”

Other projects include the Speed Museum and its outside piazza, along with the renovated Ulmer Softball Stadium.

Carolyn Callahan, the new dean of the College of Business, was also introduced to the Board during the meeting.

“My overriding goal is to really serve the business students,” said Callahan. “I believe we serve our business students best by giving them a competitive advantage in the job market. It’s really quite that simple.”

She spoke about language emersion programs where five top business students are participating in to help gain that advantage. Callahan’s goal is to have this emersion program within the College of Business itself.

Callahan says that advantages like these programs “put us up front as a business school.”

 

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Proposed Ky. budget hits hard

If Governor Steve Beshear gets his way U of L will lose $3.5 million next year. His two-year budget cuts  higher education by 2.5 percent, a loss of about $23 million  for state colleges and universities.

The state legislature will modify the bill until it will be voted upon in April. “Nobody really knows what the final product will look like,” said Joseph Steffen, the chair of the faculty senate.

“I can’t really imagine that there wouldn’t be a tuition increase,” said Steffen. The university is currently researching ways to prevent this and the student group Cards in Action (CIA) is lobbying in Frankfort against the hikes.

Potentially endless cuts

The University of Louisville has been able to make tremendous strides despite incurring 14 cuts in funding in 14 years. The $3.5 million U of L will miss is miniscule compared to the overall budget of around $1 billion.

“People will feel it. It will be obvious,” said Steffen. “It keeps us from standing in place…even more, it keeps us from moving ahead.”

The new reduction in the budget has numerous predicted impacts upon students’ ability to afford college, paychecks for faculty, funding U of L hospital and keeping pace with the 21st Century Initiative.

The cuts could even deeply affect the amount of scholarship money given to students, including the Cardinal Covenant scholarship and programmatic-based scholarships. “If we can’t keep…those programs up to speed, we’re going to start losing good students too,” said Steffen.

Tuition could easily increase as a result. “Some, most, all of that will come out of student pockets,” Steffen said. “No one wants tuition to go up. Everyone will work their hardest to keep it to the minimum that will have to happen.”

Since the budget is still in its beginning stages, it is not entirely known what specific effects the budget cuts will have on the university, although much is at stake.  Along with the university, students are voicing their concern of cuts directly to those responsible.

Positive propositions

Despite the negative impact on the university, there are some potentially positive parts of the proposed budget.

One of the main parts of the budget is funding for the construction of a new classroom building on the Belknap campus.

This building comes as a relief since a study revealed out of Kentucky colleges, the University of Louisville had some of the most severe space limitations on campus. This has limited the amount of space available for students to take electives at desired times.

The new building is projected to be technologically equipped and more conducive to group lectures. Although the new building is in its infancy, a prime location noted for this project has been the space between the Natural Sciences building and Grawemeyer Hall.

Another positive point in the proposed budget is access to $15 million for the University of Louisville through the Bucks for Brains program, which has been unfunded for a number of years.

Bucks for Brains started in 1997 to bring widely-known and accomplished faculty to Kentucky colleges  to advance research at universities, communities and the commonealth. In order to access these funds, the university must match the state dollar-for-dollar from fundraising.

Legislative response

Since the governor revealed his budget, the state legislature has been hard at work trying to understand and amend the bill. Legislators have been meeting with university officials, students and various economic experts.

“Upset is probably too strong of a word. I think that [state legislators] are concerned,” said Dana Mayton, the senior associate vice president for governmental affairs for U of L.

“They are very much still in the information-gathering stage,” said Mayton. “They go through a very deliberative process both with public hearings and then also with their own staff doing research behind the scenes.” Some of this research includes how it will not only affect higher education , but how it will also affect students.

“I think the challenge for them is how do you re-balance. Where do you find the money to make up for cuts like ours,” Mayton said.

The state legislature is working with the University by holding one-on-one meetings with university officials and President Ramsey has visited Frankfort many times this session already.

Students take action

The University of Louisville has Kentucky’s only continuous student-lobbying program. Cards in Action was formed this year and is composed of various students who are quite vocal about the budget cuts.

“The goal of Cards in Action is to put a student perspective on rising tuition and on resource issues that we are facing,” said Carrie Mattingly, who is one of the coordinators for Cards in Action and current Student Government Association president.

Focusing on the issues of the proposed budget, Cards in Action is working on three main points when they talk with  legislators: closing the 2.5 percent overall cut in education funding, advocating for the new Belknap campus classroom building and ensuring the success of the Bucks for Brains program.

Cards in Action has put testimony from students across campus at the forefront. Some students are having to become part-time at the university, take time off, work more or take out more loans to afford increasing tuition. Because classroom space is at a premium some students can’t schedule electives because there are not enough rooms at the right time.

The initiatives have been very successful. Cards In Action met legislators twice this year. Some legislators had a positive response, while others remain on the fence.

The group hopes to meet with legislators two more times before the revised budget is adopted.

University’s approach

While Cards in Action is placing the student perspective on the possible cuts, the university has been implementing ways to reduce the inevitable hit.

The most notable of these initiatives is the university’s Tax Increment Financing districts. The university’s TIFs work by having the university build an office building where renting businesses pay a tax. Part of this tax goes to the government while the other part goes directly to the university.

The most notable of these projects is the Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park south of  the J.B. Speed School and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

“We’re trying to find other ways to generate money other than just tuition,” Steffen said. “These districts are going to end up paying the university over 20 or 30 year periods.”

In addition to effective fundraising, university officials are constructing and evaluating different ways to wisely decrease spending and implement more efficient business practices in order to offset the possible cuts.

Since state budget cuts began in 2001, the U of L has implemented stewardship, cost reduction and efficiency efforts that saved in the $115 million. The university has reduced spending despite the sharp cuts in state funding. Despite the proposed cuts, the university will most likely be able to continue on the same trajectory.

“We’ve looked to cut costs and save money wherever we can, but still manage to give some raises to employees. There haven’t been any widespread layoffs,” said Mark Hebert, the director of media relations for the university. “We haven’t had to cut a lot of services, we haven’t had to cut student programming.”

The potential result

Since the final version of the budget will not be up for a vote until April, it is too early to gauge how these proposed cuts will affect specific functions and students. “It’s really early in the process. We’re not going to know what we’re getting or not getting until the middle of April,” says Hebert.

Regardless of the processes at work, the proposed budget includes many high and low points for the U of L.  Bucks for Brains and the new classroom building are in limbo as the state legislature debates and revises the budget.

One thing is for certain says Hebert. “There’s no question that there are going to continue to be tuition increases for students. The question is how much are they going to have to be to offset the cuts that we’ve got and to keep the academic standing and the academic standards that we’ve met…and to keep us moving forward.”

“We’re on the ground everyday, fighting the good fight,” said Mayton.

Budget cuts threaten 21st Century Initiative

By: Lubna Hindi–

 

The University of Louisville will take a 2.5 percent budget cut in 2014, forcing a review of the 21st Century Initiative that included increased six year graduation rates, doctorate degrees and endowment by the year 2020.

These cuts were discussed at 21st Century Initiative open forum this past Thursday. After the president and the provost had presented, the floor was open for anyone to ask questions. Concerns about increasing student employment after graduation, reviewing general education requirements in the upcoming years, and teacher evaluations were presented.

“We want something that’s transparent, understandable, doesn’t pit us against each other, so that we can work together as a university and move forward together,” said Provost Shirley Willihnganz.

Willihnganz also discussed modernizing the university and reevaluating certain standards including the infrastructure system, general education, and databases available to faculty, allowing for better communication and a more efficient university.

“Department chairs often don’t know what the budgets are because the systems are so complicated, they can’t access the data to tell them where the money is or how much there is left to spend,” said Willihnganz.

U of L has experienced 14 budget cuts in the past 14 years and has been struggling to stay on track to achieve all the goals they had set in 2008 when creating the plan.

To continue to move forward and maintain their 21st Century University Status, the Board of Trustees along with the president and the provost developed a number of committees consisting of department chairs, faculty, students, and other university officials to help obtain diverse, well rounded ideas from the university. The committees each focus on different topics like culture, technology, financial health and academics and research to aid the university in moving forward despite the budget cut.

 

 

 

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Editorial: Students get a raw deal with rising education costs, budget cuts

The recent unveiling of tuition increases paired with education budget cuts can be quite worrisome for students, and for young people looking to get the most out of college and plan for the future.

The University of Louisville has yet again raised student tuition. That’s understandable, given the growing demand for education, but it would be an easier pill to swallow if we could be assured that we are getting what we pay for.

With college degrees becoming more and more common, the saying that “a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma” has never been closer to truth. With a college degree costing more every day and carrying less weight, colleges and universities should be finding new ways to increase the value of education to keep up with the rising costs. But with the budget cuts thrown on top of tuition increases, it seems the gap between value and cost is spreading, with one going up and the other going down.

Mitt Romney’s education stance doesn’t exactly make students feel optimistic either. As a country, we should be investing in the future. With the economy in its current state, the future is an unclear site. It seems we should be doing as much as we can to ensure a bright future instead of an uncertain one. The future starts with education, and if we want great things for future generations, shrinking the Department of Education is not a promising solution.

We know that one defining characteristic of conservatives is the push for a smaller government and less government spending, but it seems there are plenty of places to trim before the education system must go to the chopping block. For some reason, our government feels the need to create tax burdens instead of tax payers, when in fact, the opposite would make more financial sense.

If the government would invest more in education, they would create taxpayers with higher paying jobs and in turn generate more tax revenue. But instead, we disperse tax funds that discourage ambition. We understand that many people need and benefit from welfare systems, and they shouldn’t be punished for the misuse by the abusers of the system. But a restructuring is in order; a structure that encourages ambition, personal growth and education, instead of one that suppresses it. Whether an abuser or not, it’s hard to go get a minimum wage job when sitting at home is financially more beneficial. This just means that the government will continue to pay these bills and never gain revenue from these investments. The system should work as a helping hand, not a crutch.

We simply feel that education is the basis of local, national and personal progression, and if the government feels the need to reorganize the system, education should be off limits, unless changes are going to be made for the betterment of it.

Read more:
-Ramsey runs the numbers on state cuts, 12-13 budget
-Tuition increase set for next academic year

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo/Flickr: ImagesofMoney

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Ramsey runs the numbers on state cuts, 12-13 budget

By Marianna Michael–

On April 19, 2012 the Floyd Theatre was filled with about 100 faculty, staff and students attending President James Ramsey’s budget forum. This was a forum in which President Ramsey discussed the budget in the face of the 6.4 percent cut to higher education at the state level. This cut would be the second largest recurring cut in the past 13 years, though it has not yet been approved by Governor Steve Beshear.

The anticipated 6.4 percent cut to higher education would remove about $9 million from the University of Louisville’s operating budget.

When Ramsey explained the budget he said that there have not been any final decisions made on it. The Board of Trustees financial committee will receive the budget in May. They will then send the budget to the full board in June, where it will be finalized.

At the request of the university, many people have sent in suggestions about how they think the university could save money. According to the university’s financials information webpage, some of the suggestions ranged from implementing furloughs to fining people who smoke on campus.

In an effort to make the budget transparent, President Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz have been meeting with different organizations including the Arts and Sciences Council and the Student Government Association.

President Ramsey noted that many of the important budget documents could be found online by going to the budget and financial planning webpa on the universities webpage.

President Ramsey highlighted reasons why the university must function as it does. In 1997, the state of Kentucky declared, “The University of Louisville is to be a Premier Nationally Recognized Metropolitan Research University.”

This law is the reason that the 2020 Plan was devised. The 2020 Plan is the driving force behind budget changes, as it outlines what the University of Louisville must do in order to achieve the mandate set by the state.

Though, due to the financial concerns that the university is facing, only so much of it can be followed with the funds that the university has.

Junior Jake French, a civil engineering major, said that one of the things he would like to see the university improve upon is the parking options. He suggests that, “They can spend money to make parking lots bigger because there are times where I pull into the green lot and can’t find a spot.”

One of the questions submitted to Ramsey during the forum was regarding how athletics was funded. President Ramsey explained that the athletic department covered their own tuition and salaries, among many other things.

Another question he answered was how many layoffs and furloughs there are going to be. President Ramsey reported that there would not be any university-mandated layoffs or furloughs. However, the University of Louisville did enact a hiring freeze of all new employees, which was done in anticipation of the state’s reduction in funding to the university.

He went on to explain that unit managers may layoff some of their staff, which does not include faculty, but this is most likely due to performance rather than budget.

According to the current plans, approximately 12 to 15 people will be laid off from approximately 6,000 people.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy UniversityofLouisville

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Students, faculty and staff submit budget cutting ideas

By Caitlyn Crenshaw–

Almost 190 faculty, staff and students put on their thinking caps when the university asked for suggestions to save money in the upcoming operating budget with the cut of state appropriations totaling about $9.6 million. With the state cutting resources distributed to higher education, the university is not only planning for the next fiscal year, but years to come as well.

President Ramsey said, “Our faculty, staff and students have come up with some good suggestions.”

The university wants to “see which [ideas] we can do quickly and which ones will take longer to do,” said Mike Curtin, vice president for finance. With the cuts imminently approaching, the university is taking action now.

These ideas are not expected to be realized immediately. “If we can pull it off and make some things happen, there are some things we can implement before July 1; other things will take one or two years to do,” said Curtin.

The next step, according to Curtin, is to “present ideas to the [leadership team] with the pluses and minuses, and the timeline it will take to do it.” Each aspect of every suggestion is considered before further action or implementing a policy by the university leadership team consisting of President Ramsey and Provost Willinghanz.

Through the website, “eight people suggested the university implement employee furloughs or unpaid time off.” These furloughs varied in length of time. The university replied to these suggestions that furloughs “would save a significant amount of money. However, there are a number of challenges to utilizing this approach.”

Of the many ideas offered “one that came forward was to curtail certain cell phone uses throughout the campus,” said Curtin. From this suggestion provided by a member of the university community, the university is “looking at standardizing all of the cell phone contracts in the university,” said Curtin.

As the state budget cut anticipates future cuts to higher education, the university is preparing not only for the present, but for the future as well. “We are looking into many of the ideas they brought forth as we position ourselves for the future,” said Ramsey.

The university community of leaders and outside resources, such as a recently hired consultant, are taking multiple steps to save money where needed without cutting corners in students’ education. It is important to realize that the suggestions from faculty, staff and students “is just one prong in the multi prong approach,” said Curtin.

Some of the other most popular suggestions were conserving energy by closely monitoring heating and cooling, lighting and the use of appliances, early retirement options, cutting back on administrative pay, offering different employment packages to employees, centralizing a list of vendors for catering, coffee, cleaning chemicals, stockrooms items and eliminating the Physical Plant Department or outsourcing its operations.

ccrenshaw@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo/Flickr: ImagesofMoney

University of Louisville students walked out of class on Nov. 14, to protest rising tuition costs and student debt.

Students walk out of class to protest rising tuition costs, student debt

By Baylee Pulliam

“Hey hey, ho ho. Tuition hikes have got to go,” chanted Aubrey Higdon, as she marched across the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus Monday afternoon with her daughter.

The march was a part of a student-led walkout, held in conjunction with the social justice advocacy group, Occupy Louisville. U of L students left their classrooms to protest rising student debt, governmental budget cuts to education and university tuition hikes.

A student and parent, Higdon dropped out of college last year, after her tuition at the University of Louisville spiked to roughly $8,400 – an increase of six percentage points.

“Something had to give,” Higdon said. Although she was working a full-time job, she “couldn’t afford to pay that and support [her] daughter,” 19-month-old Myla, who participated in the walkout from her stroller.

Students rallied in the Bingham Humanities Quadrangle, and marched through the Humanities Building, Davidson, Strickler and Frazier Halls, the Ekstrom Library and the Ville Grille.

Student leaders equipped with microphones and bullhorns encouraged walkout participants to chant louder while inside the academic buildings.

“Education is a right, and we need to show [administration] that,” said U of L sophomore pan-African studies major and Occupier, Jeremy Clark, who co-led the march.

The twenty-some participants held signs and chanted, claiming “tuition hikes” had decreased students’ ability to go to college. Some students speculated that the crowd would have been larger, had there been more warning.

Although the event was announced over social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sophomore exercise science major Nick Reburn said he only found out about the walkout when a fellow student marched out of class.

“I got up and followed him,” Reburn said. “Actually, a few of us did.”

According to the event’s Facebook page, the march was not intended as “an excuse to avoid school work or to offend our professors,” and students would need to be respectful while leaving their classes and make up any class work missed.

The march was followed by a teach-in on social justice held in the Humanities Quad. A related panel discussion titled “Justice in Kentucky” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, in Bingham Humanities room 100.

bpulliam@louisvillecardinal.com

Photo by Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal