UK Board of Trustees passes $3.9 billion operating budget, welcomes next school year with open arms amid ‘financial headwinds’


Board of Trustees meeting June 22, 2018. Photo by Jacob Eads

Jacob Eads

The UK Board of Trustees officially approved the university’s 2018-19, $3.9 billion operating budget on consent at their June 22 board meeting—the last of this fiscal year.

Among the standout details of the proposed budget, UK students will see a 2.5 percent tuition and fee increase for next school year, marking one of the lowest increases in more than 20 years.

This comes in response to the state Council on Postsecondary Education’s recent allowance of universities across the state to raise their tuition and fees by 4 percent in a single year. UK significantly undershot the allowance.

“We put students first — period,” President Eli Capilouto said. “The board approved a budget that sends a powerful message about the importance of student success and the workforce we seek to create for the Commonwealth.”

First-year, in-state students can expect to pay $6,035 in tuition and fees for the Fall 2018 semester, a jump from last year’s $5,886.

The 2019 tuition hike is expected to place tuition and fees costs at $6,180 per semester.

At their Board of Trustees meeting, the administration touted an increase in retention and graduation rates amongst UK students. Retention rates are approaching 85 percent, while roughly 65 percent of UK students are expected to graduate within six years of their arrival.

The proposed budget welcomes a 1.5 percent salary increase for all UK faculty and staff, making this the sixth straight year employees will receive raises.

UK HealthCare received a substantial boost of $118 million in this year’s budget, bringing its total funding to $1.712 billion.

UK Athletics boasts a $5.9 million increase to its budget, thanks to what the administration calls “a reflection of the program’s continued success as among the top 10 in the country.”

This budget also eliminates the standard of an athletics fee. The previous fee was a yearly $14 for all UK students. The administration had been phasing out the fee for the past three years.

“We are an institution with momentum,” Capilouto said. “And even in the face of continued financial headwinds, we are proving that we are the university for Kentucky.”

With the passing of this proposed budget, the administration closed a door on the previous school year and welcomes the next year with open arms.

“A lot of exciting things happened,” Capilouto said of the previous year. “…but the things that matter most to me, I’m going to have the honor of bidding farewell to over 5,000 graduates…I look at numbers in terms of our entering class, and realize we have a hungry, well-prepared group that want to come to the University of Kentucky.”