Proposal includes 9 percent tuition hike

In spite of a potential state budget cut of $20 million next year, UK students will have the same tuition increase as last year, pending approval of the UK Board of Trustees this month.

In a campuswide e-mail yesterday, President Lee Todd announced his recommendation to raise tuition and mandatory fees 9 percent for in-state students and 6.6 percent for out-of-state students for the 2008-09 school year. That means lower-division undergraduate students from Kentucky would pay an extra $319.75 a year, and out-of-state lower-division students would pay $493.75 more.

On-campus housing prices would not be raised and dining costs would go up 4 percent if Todd’s plan clears the April 22 meeting, as his proposals have the past few years. It would also increase financial aid to partially offset the tuition increase’s impact on students, Todd said.

Out-of-state tuition would be raised less because those students already pay more, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton. A lower rate of increase would also help bring in out-of-state students, he said.

Todd’s decision to increase tuition comes on the heels of last week’s decision by the state House and Senate to cut higher education’s budget by 3 percent, in addition to a 3 percent cut already in place. Gov. Steve Beshear must still approve the cuts, and the House and Senate must approve them again separately.

In yesterday’s e-mail, Todd said UK would have to raise tuition 18 percent to fully offset state budget cuts, which he said was “simply too high.” The tuition hikes Todd proposes would reduce UK’s deficit to $14 million. The rest of the funds would come from department and college cuts, which will be determined in the next few months.

Students wanting to discuss the tuition increase can participate in a student forum on April 18, four days before the board decides how much more students will have to shell out.

Student Government President Nick Phelps said talks with university officials earlier this year led him to believe tuition might go up half of what is proposed. Now students will pay more to get the same quality of education.

“It really makes you wonder, are we getting close to the breaking point?” Phelps said.