Davies announces position cuts, tuition increases

Story by Bailey Bohannan, Staff writer

President Bob Davies announced at the University Hall meeting Thursday that there will be faculty and staff cuts, which will be addressed at the Board of Regents meeting May 13.

Davies said he has told departments not to fill open positions because if other jobs are cut, he will try to fill openings with qualified faculty and staff members whose positions were eliminated.

“We will work with them to hopefully find another position on campus,” Davies told the standing room only crowd in Alexander Hall. “I cannot, and I will not, guarantee a position for everyone.”

Davies said the university will do what it “honorably, ethically, morally, legally and professionally” can to help everyone find a home on campus.

Murray State is facing $9.1 million worth of total revenue loss, caused mostly by state cuts contained in the budget Kentucky lawmakers passed this month and signed this week by Gov. Matt Bevin. To make up for part of that loss, tuition will increase in total $3 million campus-wide.

Davies announced two tuition proposals for returning students.

The first includes a 5 percent tuition increase for everyone, keeping all other fees and the web premium the same.

The second proposal would increase tuition and mandatory fees 4.5 percent. It would eliminate the extra web premium for online classes but keep the $65 web fee. But those students who take more than 15 credits in a semester also would be charged more for each hour beyond 15. Credits 12-15 would remain “free” for students.

Although tuition will make up for $3 million worth of the loss in state funding, Davies said everything is on the table to be cut, and much consideration has been put into what will be cut.

“We wanted this to be strategic and comprehensive,” Davies said.

Davies said there have been several different factors at play, including:

  • 1,042 more freshmen have been admitted at this time this year than last year;
  • Performance-based funding will be a factor in the 2017-18 academic year, although no standards have been set yet. Performance-based funding will be a portion of state funding that Murray State and other public Kentucky universities will compete for based on certain standards such as graduation and retention rates;
  • In the past few years, the graduation rate has declined and is currently at 49 percent with a 72 percent retention rate;
  • Two internal task forces – the support team and the academic team – have submitted their recommendations and reports on the university budget to Davies. The executive team will finalize the recommendations. Notifications about the cuts will begin May 16.