The university’s proposed 2011–12 general fund operating budget is $471 million, including a state appropriation of $178.5 million.
The proposed budget includes a 3 percent increase in the faculty and staff salary pool. Faculty and administrators will receive merit-based raises averaging 3 percent. Staff who earn below $40,000 will receive a flat rate of $1,200, while those making $40,000 and above will receive 3 percent across the board.
The salary increases, the first employees will have received in three fiscal years, will be funded primarily through about $8.4 million in cost savings strategies and internal reallocation.
“It is important to note that the salary increase pool is coming from internally generated funds,” said Mike Curtin, vice president for finance.
The full board will vote on these changes in June:
“When we reviewed the program’s history, we found that it has gone through several changes over time but that previous boards have recognized that salary and benefits must work together to provide competitive employment opportunities for faculty and staff,” said Sam Connally, vice president for human resources. “The changes to the tuition remission program were designed to make the program as cost-effective as it can be and to sustain this benefit over time.”
- Require employees and their dependents to pay student fees (effective fall 2011)
The tuition remission program the Board of Trustees originally approved expressly stated that it would cover tuition only. Recent “bundling” of fees inadvertently resulted in UofL paying the costs for people using the tuition remission benefit.
- Require employees to attain a “C” average or better for tuition remission coverage(effective fall 2011)
- Permit employees to take up to 8 credit hours per semester and up to 18 hours per year (effective July 2011)
This is an increase from the current six hours designed to help people whose majors require four-hour classes. It will not save money, but will provide greater scheduling flexibility for employees who need to take 4-hour courses. The two-class per semester limit still applies.
- Re-establish a 12-month waiting period for children of new hires (effective July 2011)
As required in the original tuition remission program, dependent children will be eligible for tuition remission beginning the semester after the parent has been employed at UofL for 12 months.
- Require a five-year waiting period for disability or death benefit for dependents (effective July 2011)
Employees hired on or after July 1, 2011, must have completed five years of total creditable service before their children would be eligible for continuing dependent eligibility in case of death, disability or retirement.
- Establish a credit hour limit of 144 hours for dependents (effective Fall 2012)
Undergraduate degree requirements range from 120 to 140 hours. The 144-hour limit is slightly above that of the highest degree requirement.
- Establish a 3-year vesting period for employees hired on or after July 1, 2011.
- Apply prior retirement-eligible service at an immediate preceding higher education institution to vesting period
- Reinstate forfeitures for employees reduced in force and re-hired within 12 months. These employees will be treated as if they never left.
Health Plan Changes
- Reduce waiver from $195 to $175 effective Jan. 1, 2012
- Reduce prescription drug network to eliminate most independent pharmacies, effective July 1, 2011
- Further reduce prescription drug network to eliminate CVS effective Jan. 1, 2012
These eliminations are not expected to affect the majority of people on the UofL health plan.
Also at the May 12 meeting, the Finance Committee approved:
- an undergraduate tuition increase of 6 percent for the 2011-12 academic year
- a housing rate increase averaging 6 percent
- an increase in the residential student meal plan from $745 for those students in housing with kitchens and $1,165 for those in halls without kitchens to $930 and $1,460, respectively. The current contract assumes no additional meal plan increases through the contract expiration in 2018.
- a recreation fee. Recommended by the Student Government Association and assessed to new students, the $98 per semester fee will pay for construction of a student recreation center on the west side of campus.
- an increase in the voluntary student health fee from $100 to $150 per semester
The Finance Committee also approved a policy revision to increase participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses and to increase the employment of minorities and women in construction projects sponsored by UofL. Over the past four years, more than 20 percent of capital expenditures for university construction projects have gone to minority and women-owned businesses.
The Academic and Student Affairs Committee approved creation of a Center for Arts and Culture Partnerships. Through its Arts and Culture Partnership Initiative, UofL has established partnerships with 17 area organizations, including the Speed Art Museum, the Louisville Arts Council, the Frazier International History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. The new center will build on those partnerships, help UofL and the agencies acquire grant funding and create synergies between the groups, said Provost Shirley Willihnganz.
Also at the meeting, President James Ramsey reported that UofL students are reaping national and international recognition. He noted that College of Business students have won more than $881,000 and top honors in several premier entrepreneur competitions. He also noted that 10 UofL students have won prestigious Fulbright awards, with several more awards still possible, and that two students have won Goldwater Scholarships.