Murray State President: Higher Ed "Impacted Indirectly" by Bevin's Mid-Year Cuts

Sep 11, 2017

Credit Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Murray State University’s president said Governor Matt Bevin’s call to reduce more than 17% of the state budget this year doesn’t have a direct impact on the state’s public colleges and universities, but higher ed officials are bracing for an 'indirect' cut of more than $7 million dollars.

President Bob Davies said in a letter to faculty and staff, "While, as state, this reduction does not directly impact Murray State and the other public universities and community colleges at this time, we will be impacted indirectly as the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) will reduce their budget by 17.4 percent, or $7.1 million."

Bevin authorized the mid-year reduction for state agencies and constitutional offices to mitigate a $200 million revenue shortfall.

The CPE is a coordinating agency that develops accountability systems, produces and submits budget requests, monitors tuition rates and numerous other things.

Davies said CPE staff will send revised budgets to the state budget director on September 25.

He also expects a rise in pension rates and a further reduction in the state higher ed budget. Davies said pension rates are "expected to increase" following an anticipated special session this fall to address the state's pension crisis.

He predicts yet another cut to higher education in the upcoming General Assembly in January. "Based on the current fiscal conditions of the Commonwealth - in terms of revenue projections and pension rates - it is projected that all state budgets, including higher education, will be reduced," Davies said.

State higher ed saw a 4.5% reduction in the previous budget. Davies added that Murray State has gone through a series of reductions over the past decade. "As a result of this, we have reduced and eliminated many services and programs as well as made difficult sacrifices," he said.

Davies said the university is seizing on "new and sustainable revenue sources" to offset reductions and will continue to be "aggressive in this approach."

"I cannot stress enough the importance of enrollment," he said and called on the campus community to be active ambassadors for the university. He also described a commitment to academic rigor and advancing programs to meet regional needs.

"Now is the time, contrary to the immediate impulse to constrict and reduce opportunities, to expand our efforts to attract well-qualified and college-ready students and implement programs that serve our mission of education and enable us to generate additional revenues," he said.