UK debates record budget

LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - The University of Kentucky's budget for 2014-2015 is expected to exceed $3 billion for the first time ever, President Eli Capilouto announced Tuesday. UK Board of Trustees members consolidated the budget at a meeting on Tuesday. The university says continued growth in health care and student enrollment are providing the record budget.

UK President Eli Capilouto credits three factors for the university's growth. He says the student population over the last decade has increased from 26,545 to 29,385. The last three years UK has experienced record first-year classes, and this coming year the university is reportedly budgeting for a record 4,800 first-year students.
The university says the percentage of out-of-state students has also increased from about 25 percent among first-year students to more than 30 percent last year.

Thirdly, UK is reporting a nearly $175 million increase in revenues from last year for the UK HealthCare system. It's expecting a 17.6% increase, from $987.8 million to more than $1.1 billion. A news release from the university says UK HealthCare revenues have grown in the past ten years to more than $1 billion from about $300 million. It says patient volumes have nearly doubled. UK HealthCare now accounts for about 40% of the university's budget, up from 24% just a decade ago.

The $3 billion budget comes despite a drop in state funding. A news release from the university says the state's contribution to the budget will drop in 2014-2015 to below 10% for the first time.

The proposed budget includes active construction projects totaling about $1.1 billion. The 27 projects include the continued fit-out of Chandler Hospital, the Gatton College of Business and Economics, Commonwealth Stadium and the new Academic Science Building, about two-thirds of which is being funded by UK Athletics. The budget also calls for a merit salary pool of 2% for faculty and staff, the first time since 2007-08 that campus employees will have received merit salary increases two years in a row. Last year, the university funded a 5% merit pool.

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