Louisville office gives UK chance to recruit new students, funding

Lexington and Louisville have always harbored rivalries, whether it is for NCAA championships, economic accomplishments or population growth. So when UK established an office of recruitment in the middle of downtown Louisville, some may have thought getting natives from the largest metropolitan area in the state to take in interest in UK was a lost cause.

But don’t be too quick to judge.

As the Kernel reported on July 3, there are currently around 25,000 UK alumni living in Louisville and 3,000 students who make up 10 percent of the student body are from the city.

So plopping a recruitment office, called UK on Main, smack in the middle of the Cardinal City might be a key asset in helping UK expand not only in its recruitment of students but in its recruitment of financial sponsors and supporters. That is, if UK is willing to utilize its new office in every possible way.

Louisville not only is the largest metropolitan area in the state, but is also home to businesses and corporations — many of which have large financial backing that could aid UK in its post-budget cut years — that Lexington doesn’t have. But asking for patrons isn’t that easy. In a city that is already home to a large university, UK on Main should serve as an office that makes a viable effort in competing for financial support from companies and alumni in Louisville.

During these dark times of recession and economic trials and tribulation, it comes as no surprise UK is suffering. After taking a 6 percent cut in state funding, making cuts in programs and faculty raises, and still managing to approve a $2.2 billion operating budget, up from last year’s $2.09 billion, economic times are visibly hard. Tuition is higher than ever, up 9 percent, and students are going to be looking for salvation from other, more affordable, post-secondary institutions.

Kentucky residents in Jefferson, Bullitt, Trimble and Oldham counties can attend Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Ind. at the cost of Indiana in-state tuition. That means paying $4,933 per school year instead of $7,736 at UK.

University of Louisville offers a similar reciprocity, allowing residents of Indiana counties Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington to attend U of L for the price of Kentucky in-state tuition, $7,564.

The business of “recruitment” is no longer easy to define. It means finding funding, it means instituting programs like the reciprocity opportunities between U of L and Indiana University Southeast to help bring students to UK and offer them the best for what they’re paying when they are here.

Opening an office for recruitment in downtown Louisville means hiring a new staff, new expenses, new endeavors. If UK is making the effort, and spending the money, to open this extension of the university in it’s rival city, it better be prepared to work hard to earn it’s keep.