After a couple years of recession and state budget cuts, the president of Eastern Kentucky University says some bills are coming due. Two new buildings are going on-line at EKU and President Doug Whitlock must figure out how to pay for their operation and maintenance. The state once provided funds for such expenses, but, now schools like Eastern must pay those bills.
“The total upkeep of those facilities is about a $3 million unfunded obligation that we have. Or, looked at another way, essentially has the same impact as a budget cut,” said Whitlock.
As directed by the state Council on Postsecondary Education, later this month, Eastern Kentucky University will probably approve a tuition increase of no more than five per cent.
With tuition increases limited and state funds declining, Whitlock says EKU needs new revenue. He says personnel costs, along with the cost of operating and maintaining Eastern’s campuses, continue their rise.
“Other things that we’ve had to deal with have been the same sorts of things that any enterprise has to address. Increased in health insurance costs. Increases in utilities. This institution buys a lot of fuel,” said Whitlock.
Still, the president at Eastern Kentucky University is counting his blessings.
“While we’ve been having that 10% reduction, higher education institutions in the rest of the country have had cuts ranging from 25% in some, few states, almost 50%,” said Whitlock.
Whitlock talks about finances at EKU Friday at 1:00 pm, during Eastern Standard, on WEKU.