BY: WESLEY ROBINSON
The Board of Regents approved tuition increases, housing rate increases and voted to keep miscellaneous salaries the same at Tuesday’s meeting.
All measures had been recommendations prior to the Board’s vote.
Undergraduate tuition will be increased 2.95 percent, just below the Council on Postsecondary Education’s cap of 3 percent. Graduate tuition rates, which are not bound by the CPE recommendation, will go up 3.4 percent.
President Doug Whitlock said while increases to higher education institutions will affect students, universities are fortunate to have governor Beshear in office because his cuts to higher education have not been as severe as other state-funded areas because of his dedication to education.
Jennifer Lowe, a senior middle grade education major from Monticello, cited a couple of reasons for the tuition hike not being good for students.
“We [as students] struggle as it is, plus I commute,” Lowe said.
The Board also approved a hike of resident hall rates by 5 percent as well as average increases of 3 percent on meal plans.
James Street, vice president of administration, said the new residence hall would not be completed until the last week of August. Weather delays prevented the contractors from putting up drywall as quickly as they would have liked on the third floor’s north wing will not be completed in time. As a result about 50 students will be displaced until the third floor of the hall is completed. Students will be given the option to stay in Telford Hall at a pro-rated cost if necessary.
The Board voted to keep salaries for regular, part-time and student employees the same as the 2012-2013 year.
The Board approved a change in admissions standards to fight enrollment decreases. The change will allow admission of students with either a 2.5 GPA or an ACT score of 20. The old standard was a grade point average of 2.0 and an ACT score of 18 to be accepted into Eastern.
The Board heard recommendations from university officials to set next year’s agenda at the last meeting before the fiscal year ending meeting in June. Other issues included negotiating the contract with incoming President Michael Benson as well as a closed session to discuss undisclosed issues relating to the Strategic Task Force and reallocation programs.
Board Chair Craig Turner said the task force has done a tremendous amount of work to outline a feasible plan and said the university will do a better job with planning in the future.
“The task force timeline brought one thing to light,” Turner said. “This is a process that should be ongoing.”
Turner said the university wanted to solidify its plans going forward and talks with Benson daily to ensure they are on the same page.
“He is well aware of everything we have been discussing and the progress that we are making,” Turner said. “I think Dr. Benson has a very good understanding [of what we must do].
Whitlock suggested to the board that the 21 members of the strategic task force be allowed to use the buyout options. The decision paved the way for Street to take a buyout.
“I was planning on retiring at 60 anyway, which is not that far off and the Voluntary Buyout Program was a viable option,” Street said.
Street said his last day will be at the end of June.
Turner said The Board did not set a date for its next meeting, which will approve the final budget for the 2013-2014 year.