NKU Orders $8M In Budget Cuts, Layoffs
By Mike Perleberg
(Highland Heights, Ky.) – Northern Kentucky University is being forced to slash jobs and expenses.
An $8 million budget gap caused the university’s Board of Regents to vote for the elimination of 105 full-time jobs Wednesday. Those positions include 37 faculty members and 68 staff members. Only six of the faculty positions are currently filled and those vacant will remain so.
The cuts will begin on July 1. The move comes as state lawmakers reduced NKU’s funding by $2.1 million for the next fiscal year.
“We are very mindful of the impact that our decisions have on our faculty and staff – both professionally and personally. We are also committed to making fiscally responsible decisions that promote student success and position the institution for a vibrant future,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said in an email to staff and students.
Mearns wrote that he and the board focused on four areas in making the cuts, including maintaining student access and affordability, focusing on strategic plan goals, supporting decisions with data, and advice from the campus community.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is also catching some blame for the cuts. Earlier this year, he ordered the state’s public colleges and universities to endure five percent budget cuts this year. Lawmakers maintained the higher education reductions in approving the state’s next two-year budget.
A judge ruled Wednesday that Bevin could order those cuts even without lawmakers’ approval.
Mearns also identified colleges being required to increased their contributions to Kentucky’s pension program. He said that 10 percent of the university’s budget will be dedicated to the pension fund by 2018, compared to just two percent six years ago.
“The financial challenges that our University continues to face are primarily the result of the combined impact of another decline in state funding, and substantial, exorbitant increases in our state-mandated pension contributions. Those factors have been compounded by a modest decline in our enrollment,” said Mearns.
The university’s enrollment has fallen six percent over the past three years and further decreases are expected over the next couple years.
Last month, NKU announced that it is raising tuition costs for next school year.