By Cassie Glancy–
As part of the State of the University Program, President Ramsey recently gave his State of the Economy speech to about 200 faculty, staff, and students in Horn Auditorium at the College of Business on Thursday afternoon. In his speech he stressed that after the recession, academic success has never been more important to the state of Kentucky.
One of the things that help the University get financial aid is the amount of students who graduate.
“We keep getting better and better, our goal is to continue to get better, so that (students) degrees increase in value over time.” said Ramsey.
The budget for Higher Education in Kentucky has decreased 23% since the recession in 2008.
U of L receives less money from the state than Medicaid, public pensions, and prisons.
Ramsey says that U of L has faced eight budget cuts from 2007-2013. He does not predict that the tuition for the upcoming academic year will put an even bigger hole in students’ pockets.
“I think there will continue to be increases, but the increases will be much more modest in the future.” said Ramsey.
The University has sought creative ways to get funding. This includes private partnerships with Sodexo, ULH Inc., which is an organization that focuses on improving quality of life. Their efforts on campus have provided food and housing for thousands of students.
By next fall a new residence hall on 4th Street will be open, which will offer a nicer place for students to reside.
Ramsey says that the construction projects going on now, such as the JP Speed Art Museum, and the new student recreation center will bring in an immense amount of revenue for the University.
Also, the partnership U of L has with ESPN has earned the university millions of dollars in fees and television rights. This partnership has also put the university at the front of the line for donations from both alumni and corporate boosters.
However, the money from athletic success is not enough. Most departments have not received enough of that money to support their academic missions. Ramsey wants the university to be known not only for the sports, but for academics as well.
“Hopefully we can get where there is more sharing of resources.” said Ramsey.
The president says that he wants to continue to recruiting the best students so that U of L is known nationwide as a Primer Research Institution. The freshman class has already made their mark on the University with an average ACT score of 25.2.
Ramsey is planting the seeds today to help Kentucky avoid another financial crisis in the future.