Dean clarifies honors fee

Saadia Akhtar

Thanks to the generous donation of $23 million by alumni Thomas Lewis, UK’s Honors Program will be revamped into an Honors College by the start of the 2017-2018 school year. With all of the changes coming, I decided to interview the Interim Dean of the Honors Program, Phil Harling, and Lisa Wilson, the Associate Provost for Finance and Operations.

Part of those changes is the new Honors Fee. Incoming freshmen (class of 2021) will be paying $500 per year as their fee, while current Honors students will pay $75 in 2017-2018, $150 in 2018-2019, and $300 in 2019-2020. Harling says the fee is “designed to cement the advantages that we are going to be able to realize in the relatively short term… the gift [Lewis’s $23 million donation] provides a ten-year foundation. Once that foundation is in place, our challenge is going to be to make sure that we have the financial wherewithal to continue to offer the advantages that we are going to realize in the short term of this gift.”

The fee will be going toward three main things that Harling narrowed down: “One is the building of the new residence hall, Lewis Residence Hall… Number two, through the gift, we are going to be able to hire four dedicated career counselors for our Honors population,” and third, “some of the money will ultimately go toward beefing up the Honors curriculum, which we hope as of the academic year of 18-19 will move to a 30-credit hour curriculum.”

Current students don’t have to worrry about the curriculum change, though. Harling said, “Now, students already in the program at that point would have the option to pursue that 30-hour curriculum, but they would not be required to.”

For students unable to pay the Honors Fee, Wilson assured that there would be financial assistance available.

“We would utilize, as we typically do at the institutional level, for students who have need… through working with the financial aid office, the FAFSA form to determine whether or not there is a need. We would appropriately award scholarship dollars to offset the fee if there is a need there, that’s been identified there in our typical formula,” Wilson said.

Harling ended the interview with, “We want to provide the kind of physical space, physical environment for our students that is compelling, that is as conducive to their education as it possibly can be.”

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