Officials with public universities around the state are trying to prepare for what is certain to be another cut in funding. Such cuts may result in changes to staffing and student services. Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock has led the Richmond school through a number of funding cuts stretching back to 2007. Governor Beshear is suggesting higher education support be reduced by six point four percent. For E-K-U that would mean about four and a half million dollars. Whitlock has implemented a hiring freeze and expects the workforce to be smaller next year. The Eastern president is not anticipating layoffs, but does expect fewer employees through retirements and people leaving. Whitlock says the size of classes could change.
“We’ve got to remain cognizant that those decisions can have an impact on students’ academic progress in times of degree so there’s a lot of things that enter into that,” said Whitlock.
The recommended reduction comes as E-K-U officials deal with a drop in enrollment. Eastern President Doug Whitlock says the one and a half percent reduction in students means three million dollars less in tuition.
“We raised our admission standards effective with the class that came in this fall..applications were still up…admissions were still up…but apparently our yield was not a high as it had been in the past years,” added Whitlock.
Whitlock says, on a more positive note, there was a ten percent drop in the number of students requiring remedial education. The legislature could opt to place more money in higher education. Whitlock doesn’t look for a full restoration of funding.