WKU Regents approve $387.7 million budget
- Author: Friday, June 21st, 2019
The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents today approved a $387.7 million budget for 2019-20.
“The development of this budget reflects our commitment to a new resource allocation process with more decentralized decision-making and shared governance engagement,” WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said. “Under this process, unit allocations are based upon our new budget model and colleges and divisions will manage their budgets throughout the year. This will create strategic opportunities for academic, support and auxiliary leadership to avoid and reduce costs and capture savings to meet their individual targets.”
President Caboni said the new model is a reversal of the base model-plus that the University had been using and allows the University to invest where it needs to invest.
The budget is $657,000 less than the 2018-19 budget and includes a 2 percent increase in undergraduate tuition.
Ann Mead, Senior Vice President for Strategy, Operations and Finance, said the budget includes a $2.5 million Strategic Investment Fund, which will be used as seed funding to help transform high-impact programs. It also includes about 5 percent less in tuition revenue due to an anticipated slight drop in enrollment and relies on $13.2 million in carry forward funding.
Budget units will be managing $8.6 million in reduction targets. About a third will come from the academic colleges with the rest in the auxiliary and support units.
Mead said the University has also budgeted for an additional $4.5 million pension obligation for employees in the Kentucky Employee Retirement System. That obligation was to rise from 46 percent of salary to 83 percent last year, but was frozen for one year and now goes into effect July 1.
The funding was included in the 2018-19 budget, and held in reserve in the event pension reform did not take place.
President Caboni said that funding equates to a 3 percent tuition increase. “We will not place that burden on the backs of our students and their families,” he said. “Because we worked strategically, intentionally and proactively, there’s not a negative effect to our current budget. We were planful and intentional to deal with that up front.”
He added that any business “paying 83 cents on the dollar for pension does not have a sustainable pension model. As a state, we have to address this issue in such a way that we deal with unsustainable charges and also make good on our commitment to our employees who are in those systems.”
The Board also elected officers for the 2019-20 year. They are:
- Gillard B. Johnson III of Nicholasville, Chair;
- Frederick A. Higdon of Lebanon, Vice Chair
- David S. Brinkley of Bowling Green, Secretary