Newly elected Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin came into office with a plan to make many changes around the Commonwealth, and on Jan. 26 the announcement of a change to funding for state universities sent many into shock.
The proposed budget, which cuts state spending overall by 9 percent, or nearly $650 million, wouldn’t have an impact on state-based scholarships, but the proposed budget will cut from NKU’s funding.
However, in a the midst of a push for an outcomes-based funding model by NKU President Geoffrey Mearns, Bevin proposed funding an additional $5.33 million for NKU in the 2017 fiscal year and another $10.66 million for the 2018 fiscal year.
Bevin’s overall plan for the state budget though will counteract the additional funding over the next two years.
“We are very grateful to Governor Bevin for his proposed action,” Mearns said in an email to faculty and staff. “Now, we must continue to advocate with the members of the General Assembly to ensure that this critical component of the governor’s budget proposal remains in the final budget.”
The significant cuts come as the state continues to deal with significant losses in the Kentucky Employee Retirement System, and according to Mearns, NKU has struggled to pay into KERS with the current budget in recent years.
While the changes will initially impact the university, Mearns believes that the changes will benefit the university in the long run, especially with Bevin’s intention to move the budget to an outcomes-based funding model.
“We support the governor’s proposal in this regard, and we will be working closely with Governor Bevin and the General Assembly to develop a rational, strategic model that rewards student success and institutional performance,” Mearns continued in the email.