Murray State’s Board of Regents has set the university’s budget and it includes a five percent tuition increase for the upcoming school year. The increase, with added fees, ups the cost for attendance for full time in-state students by $174.00 per semester (*correction we inaccurately reported the increase for the academic year). The increased tuition is estimated to add $4.9m to the operating budget. Housing rates will also rise four percent.
The increased revenue helps fill a shortfall created by a 1.5% cut in state funding, added pension and healthcare costs and increases in other fixed costs.
The board also approved a one percent raise for faculty and staff to be given only if the university hits revenue projects from increased enrollment. If those projections are met in the fall then the raise will be passed along to employees retroactively from July 1. The raise would cost approximately $900,000.
The board of regents also elected a new chairman and vice-chairwoman. Harry Lee Waterfield II will serve as chair and Sharon Green will serve as vice-chair. Both appointments occur annually. Previous Chairman Dr. Constantine “Deno” Curris served in that post for two years. He remains on the board for one more year barring reappointment to the board. Regent Marilyn Reed Buchanon was Curris’ vice-chair. Buchanon is leaving the board after serving 19 years totaling three terms. University board appointments have since been limited to two consecutive terms.
Waterfield’s term on the board expires in 2016 while Green’s term expires in 2015
Other news from the Board of Regents Meeting:
Academic Affairs Committee:
The board approved a new masters degree in economic development with plans to institute in the fall of 2014. The university of Southern Mississippi is a benchmark institution for this program and the original architect of that program help advise the Arthur J. Bauerfeind College of Business develop the program.
The board also approved several new minors.
MSU officials held a successful annual meeting with the advisory committee for the Paducah Regional Campus. The spring semester was a soft opening there was an increase in students even during the soft opening. Provost Jay Morgan says the university is faring well regarding next semester’s target.
Audit and Compliance:
The board heard a report from representatives from the audit firm Rueben Brown. The board also received a report from MSU’s internal auditor.
Enrollment Management and Student Success:
MSU’s spring 2014 enrollment was down 1.7 percent. Undergraduate enrollment totaled 8,091. Graduate enrollment totaled 1,690. Full time equivalent students totaled 8,096.
MSU’s total enrollment is 9,781. Spring 2013 total enrollment was 9,943.
In a preliminary fall 2014 enrollment report Director of Enrollment Management Fred Dietz reported early numbers are encouraging.
Mid Continent University in Mayfield is closing and MSU has been reaching out to impacted students. Applications for undergraduate and graduate students totaled a little under 200 for summer and fall and currently 30 students enrolled.
Building and Grounds:
There are $30m major capital projects underway for MSU. More than $102m in capital projects to be completed within 2014-2016.
Hopkinsville’s Breathitt Veterinary Center will cost $36m in state funding for 61,000 square foot facility. Construction is set to begin September 14th with an estimated completion date in May 2016.
A new Engineering and Physics building is expected to cost up to $36.89m. $31.8m will come from state funds with up to $5m coming from Murray State. The building will be located to the southeast of Jesse D. Jones Hall. The building will require the closure of Olive Street. Construction is set to begin in February of 2015 with a completion date in August 2016.
MSU will sell bonds to pay for a new Franklin Residence Hall with an estimated cost up to $28.9m. The construction is part of a 10-year strategic plan. The building is likely to be located adjacent to Chestnut Street on the site of the old Lee Clark residential college. The 380-bed residence call will cover about 114,000 square feet. Construction is set to begin in April 2015 with a completion date in August 2016.
Five-Points Intersection Improvements Update:
The state’s two-year road plan allocates $4.5m for creating a roundabout at the five-points intersection.
Energy Savings Performance Contract:
Murray State will enter into an energy savings plan contract to determine a comprehensive energy savings plan.
Murray State has developed a five year deferred maintenance list. The needs total $51.6m. Funding would be provided from various sources.
Critical needs that will be addressed this year include $2.1m for electrical upgrades, and maintenance for Waterfield and Pogue Libraries.
MSU will use some reserves to pay for repairs to MSU’s electrical grid, which is in need of a new or refurbished transformer that failed on April 28th. There is a possibility an insurance claim may be made regarding the damage to the failed transformer.
Other reserve expenses include Authorization for $590,000 for Waterfield and Pogue Libraries.
MSU will also use up to $5m in reserves for construction of the Engineering and Physics Building Project. The spent money will be repaid with donations.
For construction of Franklin Residence Hall MSU will issue $28.5m in bonds on a 20 year repayment plan.
Parking Fee Increase: MSU will increase parking fees. The general $55 fee will increase to $75. Freshman parking tags will increase from $35 to $45.
Equine Stall Fee Increase: MSU will increase equine stall fee by $60 per semester. Future increases will be tied to housing rate increases which are typically four percent annually.