U of L sees a fall in undergraduate enrollment, but a rise in graduate enrollement Tuesday, Sep 28 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The number of first-time undergraduate students enrolling at U of L fell 6 percent this semester compared to last year. However, graduate student enrollment rose by 2 percent up to about 6,450.

Jim Begany, U of L Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success suggests that these differences are likely due to recent development in graduate business and education programs.

“The College of Business started an online MBA program and an on-campus master’s in business analytics. Undergraduate enrollment is slightly down to fairly flat as we see impacts from COVID-19 and shifts in demographics,” Begany said. “We have done better than most but certainly are impacted by the current environment when recruiting and retaining students.”

Despite declining enrollment, the U of L undergraduate class of 2025 is still diverse according to the enrollment report. 20.24 percent identify as African American or multiracial and 7.06 percent are Hispanic/Latino.

The students also come from all over the country as 23.72 percent are from states other than Kentucky. 38 states are represented across the freshman class.

The class of 2025 has an average ACT score of 25.64 and an average high school GPA of 3.63. Many students decided to prepare for college by taking some classes before their freshman year, so 47.6 percent have some college credit entering U of L.

33.05 percent of this freshman class are first-generation college students. 64.05 percent live on campus and 246 freshmen are part-time students.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal



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A&S freezes spending amid $1.6 million budget shortfall Sunday, Mar 14 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Owen announced to A&S faculty on March 9 that a temporary spending freeze would take effect from now until June 30. This decision comes after A&S reported a budget shortfall of more than $1.6 million for the current fiscal year due to low enrollment this year.

“Enrollments in A&S fell below budgeted targets in the fall and spring semesters, and we are now projecting a revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year of $1,684,991, while expenditures are trending as budgeted,” Owen said in the email announcement. “I ask for your help to close this gap between revenues and expenditures.”

He went on to say that this shortfall can be addressed by increasing revenues through higher enrollment in late-start spring semester classes and summer classes, as well as by reducing expenditures through general funds spending freeze.

When The Cardinal reached out to Owen for comment he said this spending freeze will only affect non-essential expenditures.

“The spending freeze will not affect students or impact our academic mission. Its purpose is to reduce spending on expenses that are not immediately essential to our academic and research missions and that can be held off until next year,” Owen said.

Owen also said that the spending freeze was only one piece of the plan to address the budget shortfall, “We are striving to increase enrollments by offering more late-start spring courses than in the past and offering a wide-range of summer courses. We had previously set aside a portion of the budget for possible revenue shortfalls, and those funds will be used. Lastly, we will apply some of the funds carried over from last year to close this budget deficit.”

The underlying cause of this decrease in enrollment that led to the shortfall is not certain at this time but Owen attributes many of the problems to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The budget shortfall is due to lower than expected enrollments in A&S, which I expect has multiple causes. Part of this is due to some students choosing to step away from their studies because of the many additional financial, personal, and emotional stresses created by the pandemic, and some may be because some students prefer in-person learning,” Owen said.

In the email, Owen laid out specific guidelines for what expenses the spending freeze would affect:

  • This applies only to general fund accounts.
  • Recurring expenses, expenses already incurred and all invoices received will need to be paid.
  • Does not impact current faculty tenure-line or term searches. Requests for staff hires will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • This will not affect any spending from research grants, RIF accounts and start-up funds.
  • This will not affect spending from endowments and current use gift accounts.
  • For all other general fund expenses, you should work with your UBM-I to request pre-approval.

Owen believes that this spending freeze can help the department address the financial problems it’s facing while still maintaining its academic mission.

“A&S faculty have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible online learning experiences possible during this past year,” Owen said. “Arts & Sciences degrees provide an exceptional value in the 21st century. By learning how to learn, A&S graduates are well-prepared for highly dynamic and unpredictable career paths, and A&S graduates have the knowledge and skills to tackle many of the challenges our communities face.”

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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BRIEF: Enrollment this spring fell slightly compared to last fall Tuesday, Jan 19 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s overall enrollment is up by 3.2% since Spring 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, undergraduate and professional school enrollment are both down after U of L saw an all-time high in enrollment last semester of more than 23,000 students.

18,920 students across undergraduate, graduate and professional programs enrolled at U of L this semester. 410 of those students were new students and 476 were transfer students. 12,785 undergraduate, 4,596 graduate students, 1,449 professional school students enrolled in classes for the spring 2021 semester.

Most undergraduate students enrolled in a mix of online, hybrid and face-to-face classes this semester, with 72%  of students falling into this category.

23% of students are only enrolled in online classes, whereas 3% of students are enrolled in hybrid classes and only 1% of students are enrolled in only face-to-face classes.

There was also a large increase in dual credit and visiting high school enrollment, which was up 36.4% from spring 2021.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L enrollment rises despite COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, Aug 26 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville is reporting 20,074 students enrolled across undergraduate, professional and graduate programs for the fall 2020 semester. That is a 1.4% increase from the fall 2019 enrollment, which was 19,791 students.

Of the fall 2020 students, 14,223 are enrolled in undergraduate programs, 4,393 are enrolled in graduate programs and 1,458 are enrolled in professional programs.

Even though enrollment is higher this year, that doesn’t mean there are more people on campus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 73.6% of students are enrolled in a mixture of online, in-person and hybrid classes. Hybrid classes are defined as classes held partially online and partially in-person. 14.9% of students are only taking in-person classes and 11.5% of students are only taking online classes.

The number of incoming freshmen has also increased from last year, with more than 2,800 freshmen enrolling this semester. That is up from around 2,600 freshmen enrolled in the 2019 fall semester. 86% of freshmen are enrolled in hybrid classes.

Although freshman enrollment is up, the percentage of freshman living on campus has gone down from 72% during fall 2019 to 66.3% for fall 2020.

A full breakdown of freshmen class statistics can be found on U of L’s news website.

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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Have Medicaid And Confused About The Recent Ky. Contracts? Here’s What to Know Friday, Dec 13 2019 

A little under a half a million Medicaid enrollees in Kentucky may be confused about what recent news about the state’s Medicaid contracts means for their health benefits. About 435,130 Kentuckians currently have Medicaid health insurance through Passport and Anthem, both of which recently lost out on contract renewals.

The companies are still offering coverage now, and people are able to sign up for a plan from either during open enrollment, which ends December 13. But as the situation stands, these two plans won’t offer Medicaid benefits starting July 1; Molina and United Healthcare will take their places. And all that could change depending on decisions by new Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration or the success of the companies’ appeals. 

That uncertainty is likely confusing for Medicaid enrollees, according to health care consultant Jerry Vitti.

“To the member, it’s confusing and it’s scary; when you hear ‘I’m losing my Passport coverage,’ most folks don’t understand whether they’re losing just their plan or their eligibility,” Vitti said. “So the fear is that they’re going to lose both. And that can be a very dramatic thing especially folks who have high healthcare needs.”

So here are some things to know.

Here’s the background.

About two weeks ago, previous Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration issued contracts to five insurance companies that will administer Medicaid benefits in the state starting in July; Anthem of Kentucky and Passport Health weren’t among them. Meanwhile, United Healthcare and Molina will offer the benefits starting in July. 

But the new administration under Gov. Andy Beshear could revoke those contracts, and legislators haven’t been pleased about what they say was a lack of transparency in awarding the contracts.

You can keep your Passport or Anthem plan until July of 2020.

Enrollment is currently open until Dec. 13, when enrollees can switch plans if they choose to. This coverage will start Jan. 1 and last until the end of June. At that point, that’s when Anthem and Passport will no longer offer plans, and United and Molina move in.

Christina Dettman, former spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the state will send out information before the July enrollment period starts. Passport and Anthem will also send enrollees information telling them they will need to choose a new plan.  Enrollees should make sure the state has updated addresses and contact phone numbers to ensure they’re notified.

Frank Siano, a health care consultant at EMD Consulting, led Aetna when it entered Kentucky’s Medicaid market. He said both United Healthcare and Molina are likely building networks of providers right now to make sure new enrollees have a choice of doctors come July. That can be important if an enrollee has a chronic health condition and wants to keep their existing health providers.

“I would encourage anybody who has any concerns is to check with their providers to make sure that they are enrolled in the new health plans,” Siano said. 

And after an enrollee picks a new plan in July, they’ll have at least 30 days to make a change for any reason.

You may not be able to keep your doctors.

If you change from Passport or Anthem to a new plan, there’s a chance your current doctors won’t be signed up with your new plan, meaning you won’t be able to see them. This could be a big deal, especially for enrollees who have complex medical conditions.

Vitti said the state may have care navigators that help enrollees figure out if a new plan includes  their doctors. The health insurance plans should have that information as well when open enrollment starts next year.

“What I mean by help, is figuring out if you switch a plan, if you can see your doctors,” Vitti said. “Not all folks will be able to see the list of specialists that they see now, or even primary care doctors.”

UnitedHealth and Molina are hopefully staffing up on people that will take those calls, according to Frank Siano.

“They need to be making sure that they’ve got the people hired to take care of the enrollees, making sure they have all their care managers in place to deal with the medical needs of the members as well as answering questions for providers,” Siano said.

The transition may be messy.

 Almost half a million Medicaid enrollees will have to pick a new plan. That’s a lot of people who will be calling and logging in online to make their choice.

“You’ve got to remember that we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of enrollees who will be transitioning from one plan to another, so just the sheer error of numbers can happen,” Siano said.

Siano recommends that once enrollees make a plan choice, to trip check with both the plan and state to confirm that they will have coverage.

The state should also send out clear communications to enrollees about what’s happening to make sure everyone knows what they need to do.

“And how are they receiving that information is going to be important,” Vitti said. “The state needs to have culturally competent communication with folks that take into consideration their varied health needs, the geography, their languages, and their reading level in order to make a cogent decision about their coverage and their healthcare.”

That communication should ideally come in the form of radio and TV ads, outreach at public gatherings and putting care navigators in places where Medicaid enrollees can get help.

“You need a whole you need an entire continuum of communication, and outreach and assistance in order to make any transition with this population successful,” Vitti said.