University of Louisville should offer students free tuition in vaccination prize drawing Monday, Aug 30 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

University of Louisville’s Division of Student Affairs recently announced that vaccinated students have the opportunity to win prizes by enrolling in a contest.

The contest, which will take place in a series of rounds over the fall semester, gives students the chance to win a number of prizes for being vaccinated. Prizes range from a U of L T-shirt or a throw blanket to more expensive items such as daily free Starbucks for 1 year and 4 Blue parking passes for the rest of the fall semester.

But how can we really get students involved? Free tuition for students.

After all, U of L made more than enough money after furloughing staff and raising fees last year that they can afford to put forth free tuition for several students.

According to U of L’s annual budget report for the 2020-21 academic year, U of L operated with a revenue of ~$1.2 billion. In the 2022 fiscal year, U of L plans to operate with a budget of ~$1.3 billion.

Part of this revenue came from raising student tuition, which the university increased by 2% in the 2020-21 academic year at the undergraduate level (with further tuition increases for graduate and professional programs). U of L also raised housing rates by ~2-5% in most complexes, with the most significant change being a 20% increase in Billy Minardi Hall’s 1 bed, 1 bath unit.

In the 2021-22 academic year, housing rates will remain the same as they were the previous year, save for the new housing complex –Belknap Residence Hall– replacing Threlkeld Hall. But with an influx of students on campus this semester, housing can more than make up any revenue lost due to the pandemic in the 2020-21 academic year.

 At approximately $22 million, Student Affairs operates on a budget that is nowhere near the size of the university as a whole.

This is why the university can certainly afford to open up its pockets to allow students the opportunity to win free tuition for a semester should students choose to get vaccinated.

After all, the university has not yet decided to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty, or staff. As of an email sent out on August 20, 54% of U of L students are fully vaccinated.

Student Body President Ugonna Okorie said that the SGA is helping Student Affairs come up with ideas for prizes.

“I’m excited to see what prizes will be offered in the future and I think any prizes that [relieves] students from financial pressure would be extremely beneficial, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” said Okorie.

Let’s hope one such prize includes free tuition for students.

 

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President Bendapudi shares highlights from 2021-22 budget Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi shared some high points from the recently approved 2021-22 budget on June 29. The budget was approved at the June 24 Board of Trustees meeting and projects an operating budget of $1.3 billion.

“Despite dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed our university and our world in many ways, I am pleased that our trustees and our administration remain committed to advancing programming and enhancements that will benefit our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

For students, the budget includes a tuition increase of $104 per semester, which Bendapudi says will be covered by funding from the CARES Act. Each returning student will receive a minimum grant of $400 per semester through this funding and high need students could receive up to $1,500 per semester.

Housing, dining, and parking prices will not increase for students this year and the university will provide laptops for 700 first-year students with high financial needs.

Faculty and staff will receive a 1% base salary increase beginning August 1 with the possibility for another increase in January 2022. The university will also restore contributions to retirement plans to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee retirement benefits, reduced as part of cost-reduction efforts in 2020, will be fully restored on July 1 to an automatic university contribution of 7.5% for eligible employees, with an additional 2.5% match for employee contributions,” Bendapudi said.

There will be no parking increase, health insurance cost increase or change in employment tuition remission for faculty and staff.

Bendapudi concluded the email by showing appreciation towards the Office of Finance and Administration for their work handling the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also gave her thanks to the entire U of L community.

“I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Finance and Administration and the many faculty, staff and administrators who took great care of their unit finances during the past year. Together, we are making decisions that will promote the long-term health of our university,” Bendapudi said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the University of Louisville. You are the reason we exist. And you are the reason we will thrive now and in the future.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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U of L to raise tuition by 2 percent for 2020-2021 Monday, Jul 6 2020 

By Madelin Shelton–

In response to the financial strain on the University of Louisville by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has announced it will raise tuition rates for students by 2 percent.

The financial fallout of the coronavirus was predicted to create a $39,000,000 shortfall for U of L’s 2020 fiscal year . As a result of swift action, including employee furloughs, salary decreases and other cost-saving techniques, the university was able to achieve a balanced budget for the fiscal year.

However, COVID-19 is expected to cause a potential $82,000,000 negative budget impact in the next fiscal year. Among other strategies for making up the financial shortfall, U of L has decided to implement a 2% increase on tuition prices.

This comes as universities across the state have chosen to issue tuition freezes to further protect students from the drastic financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kentucky universities who have chosen to freeze tuition include: Northern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University and Western Kentucky University.

John Karman, U of L’s director of media relations, said that tuition will rise $117 from the 2019-2020 rate of $5,866 per semester to $5,983 per semester.

“The university has been forced to use a number of levers to address the significant financial crisis caused by COVID-19. For fiscal year 2020, those levers included salary cuts, furloughs and reductions to employees’ retirement funds,” Karman said.

“For fiscal 2021, levers include the modest tuition increase and continued reductions to employee retirement contributions, among other cuts,” he continued.

When asked if the university’s administration was concerned with how this rise in tuition would impact students already struggling with the financial strain of higher education, Karman said that they were. He said the university plans to continue expanding its financial aid pool while dropping the cost of online courses to match the cost of in-person instruction.

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Surprise: Tuition’s Up Again Friday, Aug 23 2019 

By Shelby Gardner —

The University of Louisville’s tuition has increased yet again this year. On June 13, the board of trustees officially approved the long anticipated 2.5 percent increase, the maximum amount allowed to be raised in a year under state law.

This means that for full time undergraduate students, it will add an extra $268 for in-state tuition, and $676 for out-of-state students.

Sidney Garner, a junior double majoring in women and gender studies and pan-african studies, said “Tuition rises, but the quality of education stays the same.”

In addition, online courses, which usually stay the same while in-person tuition increases, will jump 8.7 percent in cost. That adds about $42 per credit hour. U of L’s online programs have become more popular over the past six or seven years, officials told trustees at a committee meeting in May.

For students that have to pay their own way, these increases might be the equivalent of being able to afford a month’s rent, a grocery trip or even books.

According to Insider Louisville, this raise is to cover a 2 percent raise for faculty, and not for state funding cuts.

The administration got the University in a situation that pitted faculty against students and they chose faculty.

President Neeli Bendapudi said this increase is intended to strengthen morale in our faculty and keep our university competitive.

This funding, with proper budgeting, could have been taken out from the money we get from the state or our alumni. Perhaps alumni are pulling out of funding U of L because of the countless sports scandals.

The carelessness of our teams and those in charge of them have repercussions all the way down to strictly academic students. When alumni decide that their money isn’t well spent by investing back into the university, everyone loses.

The tuition increase is not exclusively a U of L problem, it’s a nationwide problem and has long term consequences. Colleges everywhere simply have tuition rates that are unreasonable and this affects the future of our city, our state and our country.

It is unfair to gate keep information from the general public just because they can’t afford it. Online courses and community colleges are one solution to this problem, but it is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.

When the nation as a whole is less educated, there is more discourse and violence. We cannot expect a brighter future if we only allow the best education to go to the wealthiest part of the population.

File Photo / Louisville Cardinal

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