University may lose $9 million

A day later and $9 million short.

That’s the situation Northern Kentucky University is facing after Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear presented his budget to the general assembly Jan. 29, prompting the university to examine how to balance its budget, including tuition hikes.

“We are going through the budget line-by-line and asking, ‘what does this contribute to education,'” University President James Votruba said. The loss in funding would be $8.2 million, and NKU would have to balance that deficit with either spending cuts or increased income.

One aspect that would be curbed, Votruba said, is growth. He said that several high demand programs, such as nursing, information systems, finance and some sciences, would face a cap on enrollment if the governor’s budget is passed as is.

Tuition, he said, would also rise.

Student Government President Alyse Bender said that the cuts would affect not just NKU, but many of its projects, including construction.

“It’s going to affect everybody,” she said.

Votruba pointed out that the reductions will also weaken the community as, without the extra funding, NKU will be hard pressed to achieve its Vision 2015 goal. According to the plan, NKU will help generate 20,000 new college-level jobs in Northern Kentucky.

“This budget will prevent us from doing that,” Votruba said.

Nevertheless, the cuts, though steep, were not unexpected.

“There’s been talk about cutting of funding,” Bender said.

She is organizing a student lobbying event for the first week of February to combat the cuts. She said that contacting the Kentucky representatives to tell them not to cut funding may help prevent the cuts.

Votruba remains confident that the spending decreases will eventually be reduced or even removed from the budget. He said that the Beshear’s proposal is only the first step, and that legislators could alter the budget as they see fit.