Academics at EKU is used as the basis for enrollment. The university uses the method of recruit and retain to help students succeed. EKU is improving campus to recruit students. The improvements are at the cost of current students – current students are paying for the projects through fees and tuition.
Officials are working to protect students from increasing fees by using “creative and strategic” methods, said Barry Poynter, vice president of Finance and Administration.
One of these methods is the use of bonds. Bonds are part of debt service and a way to borrow money. People buy the bonds and then EKU can use that money to pay for projects, but then must pay the money back over time.
The bonds issued are being used to fund projects such as the new Rec Center, which will be located at the site of Todd and Dupree halls. The new Rec Center will have a pool, locker rooms and will be about two and a half times the size of the current Rec Center.
Another method for funding campus improvements is public partnerships.
Housing improvements are one example of public partnerships. The housing revenue will help pay off the debt.
The debt from the new dining hall is not EKU’s. A public partnership was used to fund that project. The new dining hall was written into the contract with Aramark to produce the new dining hall.
Despite the creative methods for protecting students from the costs of the new projects, EKU has continued to raise fees and tuition. EKU enrollment is affected by these rising costs.
“Enrollment is driven by you all choosing a campus because of academic quality, because of a program, because of a faculty member,” President Benson said.
Although one factor of enrollment is faculty members, the faculty members are paid significantly less than several athletic coaches.
The highest paid professor is paid $170,843, but the head football coach’s salary is $300,000 and the head men’s basketball coach’s salary is $307,500 according to the 2017-2018 proposed operating budget.
Market dynamic of coaches and market dynamic of professors are two different things. Coaches’ salaries are often viewed through legacy such as football and the Roy Kidd legacy, but a professor’s salary is determined by what they can provide as a service to EKU.
“I approved those recommendations from the athletic director,” Benson said.
Benson also said students often choose a campus because, “it has the bells and whistles they want.” While students do want the amenities of campus, these luxuries are often at the cost of high tuition and fees.
Tuition increased almost five percent in this past year.
“I would like to see if we can keep it [tuition] where it is and keep our fees where they are right now,” Benson said, “I don’t want to go up anymore this year if we can help it.”
EKU has plans for more projects on campus. The money for the projects is still being collected.
EKU has used state appropriations to pay for the New Science Building.
The overall budget for EKU is approximately $355 million. The money is separated into three separate pools of money: auxiliary appropriations, education in general (ENG), and grants.
Auxiliary appropriations are for food, housing, etc. There are no state appropriations for these areas. ENG includes faculty, students, provost, athletics. Grants are from the government for research.
EKU also uses alumni donations as fundraising. These donations can be in the form of artwork, property, or monetary donations.
Enrollment is increased because of the scholarship budget, which consists of approximately $37-38 million. These funds go towards the EKU Excellence award, Founders award, Regents scholarship and Presidential scholarship.
State appropriations are decreasing heavily. The state appropriation for EKU has decreased by 4.5 percent, according to EKU Regents Approve Changes in Academic Programs to Better Position University for Future Success – December 5, 2016.
EKU is facing a $13.1 million budget shortfall for 2017-2018, according to EKU Regents Approve Changes in Academic Programs to Better Position University for Future Success – December 5, 2016.
The special use fee debt service for the Recreation and Wellness Center is considered a capital assessment fee.
Enrollment is influenced by a renovated campus. The new buildings have given the campus a new look.
Signature programs – aviation, professional golf management, occupational therapy – attract students
Tuition and state appropriations go to one and are then divided into multiple areas. Academics and athletics have two different budgets. Our budgets have been static for the past 5 years because we haven’t had new money to allocate.
The president’s council, also known as the president’s cabinet, consists for vice president academic affairs, vice president for finance and administration, vice president for development, vice president for student success, vice president for government relations, athletic director, university council and assistant to the president. They decide many of the issues concerning finances.