Students at Eastern Kentucky University will be paying a bit more per credit hour starting this fall thanks to an asset preservation fee approved Monday during a Board of Regents meeting.
The university noted tuition rates have not risen. However, students will be paying an extra $10 per credit hour, with a cap at 15 hours or a maximum of $150 per semester, excluding online credit hours and duel credit hours.
According to EKU, “in February, the Counsel of Postsecondary Education (CPE) approved an exemption to the annual tuition and fee rate ceiling to levy an asset preservation fee.”
Director of External Affairs Kristi Middleton noted the funds would be used to maintain the university’s aging infrastructure, which formerly received monies from the state. Those funds from the Commonwealth have since ceased. Incoming students were made aware of the potential charge, Middleton said.
All board members voted for the fee except outgoing student regent Laura Jackson.
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Despite the suspension of the school psychology program being tabled during an April board meeting to allow collection of data regarding the feasibility and possible revenue increase of taking the program online, it was formally suspended Monday.
The vote was cast unanimously following a letter from the chair that going online, at this time, was not a valid option.
Vice President for Student Success Eugene Palka reported to the board recent numbers regarding the school’s recruitment, retention, etc., during the Executive & Academic Affairs portion of the meeting.
Enrollment for freshmen was at 2,586, up from 2,306 in 2012. Admitted students for 2018 were cited as 7,814.
Freshmen retention was at 73.3 percent, an increase from 2006’s 63 percent, making EKU third in state university retention.
Graduation rates (for four-year graduates) sits at 32.55 percent against the 2006 rate of 15.67. The goal rate set by the CPE is 23 percent; however, EKU’s internal goal is much higher, Palka said.
The graduation rate for those completing their degree in five years was at 46.03 percent with six-year graduates at 51.34 percent (up about 10 percentage points in five years).
In a Twitter post by President Michael Benson, it was noted 125 veterans graduated this past May.
• During a Student Life, Discipline and Athletics Committee meeting, athletics director Stephen Lockmueller presented an update on the implementation of beach volleyball. The university will file with the NCAA as a sponsor by August, he said, adding not to expect home events for the team until it has its own courts in place — which the university plans to have over the next couple of years.
• Coach Richard “Rick” Erdmann was honored in front of the board for his many accomplishments as a resolution was read naming him as head coach emeritus of the Eastern Kentucky University Cross Country and Field and Track teams.
• Also honored were EKU senior Nathanael Bartosch, one of two winners nationally of the 2017 Award for Academic Achievement Abroad presented by The Forum on Education Abroad; and outgoing student regent Laura Jackson.
• It was noted during the Institutional Advancement and Honors Committee presentation that the Capital Campaign, which has a goal of $50 million and hoped to be halfway to mark at this time, has reached approximately $29.7 million. A public contribution campaign will go live in the fall of 2019, said interim vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, Dan McBride.
• Educational and general revenue was at 99.42 percent as of May 31, as opposed to last year’s report at 98.75, noted Barry Poynter, EKU vice president and treasure, Office of Finance and Administration, during a report from the Finance and Planning Committee. Later, the regents approved the total fiscal year operating budget for 2018-19 at $353,813,686, with $233,682,890 being in the educational and general fund.
• Brian Wilcox, associate vice president of Capital Construction and Project Administration, reported on three projects the campus is pursuing, including the new student and recreation center, scheduled for completion by November 2019, the Powell Student Center building renovation, which will open December 2019, and a bypass pedway. The pedway, cited as still being in the design review stage, would be large enough to accommodate usage by golf carts and other small utility vehicles.
• It was reported by EKU executive director of Government Relations David McFaddin that Model Laboratory School would introduce new kindergarten and eighth-grade classes this year.
• The board heard from interim provost Deborah Whitehouse on work done by the Summer School Task Force to increase summer enrollment.
• A new policy regarding service and assistance animals was approved. The change made to the policy was made after, on May 7, the University received a complaint from the Office of Civil Rights relating to disability discrimination, and alleging the language used in the existing service animal policy was in violation of current law, according to a letter from Barbara J. Kent, director of Policy and Legal Operation to the Board of Regents. Since then, EKU has negotiated with OCR on a resolution, based on the revision.
Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.