University of Kentucky board members and officials met on Monday to hear the proposal of the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. The officials’ main goals are for UK to thrive when the crisis of COVID-19 subsides while still ensuring health, safety, wellness and effective communication to the campus community.
University officials plan to continue student access and affordability and competitive pay for faculty and staff while preventing across-the-board cuts.
For this fiscal year, the budget is at $5.1 billion, which will go into five different categories. Undesignated general funds come from tuition and state appropriations. Designated general funds come from UK HealthCare. Auxiliary funds come from athletics, housing, dining and transportation. Restricted funds come from research grants and investments. All of these funds go back into funding the departments from which it came. Fund balances make up the final category; they come from university savings and are used for capital projects, faculty start-up packages and pilot programs.
For faculty and staff, UK proposed implementing a few improvements. The full retirement match of 10% will be restored for 2022. Unused vacation leave will also carry over into this fiscal year, due to COVID leaving little room for any travel this past year. Health benefits will increase to $2 for singles and up to $9 for families. The hourly rate for wage workers will also increase, moving to $13.75 by July 1 to $15.00 on Jan. 1, 2022—an initiative that was announced in May. A new parental and elder leave program will also be implemented. The graduate assistant stipend pool will have a 5% increment match, and merit-based salary income will increase by 2%, effective Jan. 1, 2022. University employees will also receive a one-time payment of $1,000 in July.
UK plans to improve enrollment numbers and university revenue, projecting 5,000 first-year undergraduates. A 1% tuition increase for all students was proposed for the 2022 fiscal year. UK will also use $41.4 million of its federal COVID relief funds for student assistance, using it for emergency financial aid grants and scholarships such as CARES. A further $64.7 million will be used for costs of the pandemic in relation to physical safety and changes to the medium of instruction.
The board will vote on this budget at the next board meeting on Thursday, June 17.