By Shelby Brown–

Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success Jim Begany detailed U of L’s plans to increase student enrollment April 21.

Presenting to the faculty assembly, Begany cautioned expanding enrollment considering a budget shortfall and accreditation uncertainty.

“We’ve got to be careful as an institution,” Begany said. “Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Currently, U of L is in a salary freeze. The university temporarily halted the hiring freeze which professor Susan Jarosi said is handled on a case by case basis.

“With declining state appropriations, and that looks to be a trend with this current administration and current legislature, that the strategy to deal with less money coming in is to increase the number of students because they generate tuition dollars,” Jarosi said.

Begany said U of L gets 81 percent of its students in-state. However, Begany projects losing over 1700 Kentucky students in five years.

Enrollment currently sits at 22.600 according to Begany. Graduation rates are also projected to rise three points this year.

Begany praised steady enrollment but cited competition with other universities.

“We tend to get about seven percent of high school graduates from the state of Kentucky,” he said. “So that means we just let the market dictate our enrollment. We need to be cognizant of the fact that in five years we have to make up 122 students just from demographics alone.”

Jarosi said replacing lost revenue sources with students is “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“Increasing student enrollment in not inherently a bad thing,” Jarosi said. “The primary thing driving student enrollment is because of the declining state funding.”

Begany said his focus is on enrollment, offering no solutions to combat declining state funding.