UK Board of Trustees approves tuition increase, employee benefits

Emily Girard

UK approved a 1% tuition increase for students and a $15 minimum wage for staff as part of UK’s largest ever budget.

The $5.1 billion budget was proposed last week and approved at a Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday. It contains a 1% increase in tuition and mandatory fees for graduate and undergraduate students. For the Fall 2021 semester, tuition and fees will total $6,305, a $63 increase from last year. UK has maintained this 1% increase for two years in a row, and UK spokesperson Jay Blanton commented in a UKNOW article Wednesday that the increases over the past four years are below federal inflation rates.

The budget also includes benefits for UK employees. UK’s minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour beginning January 2022, and all full-time non-UK HealthCare employees will receive a one-time $1000 payment in July. Additionally, UK staff will now receive two weeks of parental leave to care for new children. 

UK also extended the deadline for non-healthcare employees to use expiring vacation time while allowing UK HealthCare employees to be paid for their unused time. 2-to-1 retirement matching policies that were cut due to the pandemic were also reinstated.

$148 million was also invested in scholarships and financial aid for students. “Undesignated” state funds like these comprise 17% of the budget. According to the UKNOW article, 75% of the budget will be invested in UK HealthCare, research grants and auxiliary services, while the rest will go to emergency funds and building projects.