Our Path Forward

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About Our Path Forward

At the direction of President Eli Capilouto, Provost David W. Blackwell and Executive Vice President Eric N. Monday are leading several teams of administrators, faculty, staff, and students tasked with generating ideas around several core concepts to create a long-term financial path for the University of Kentucky.

In the next five years, the University of Kentucky must address a critical financial imperative – a $200 million gap between expected revenues and anticipated needs. That financial plan – Our Path Forward (OPF) – seeks to achieve the appropriate balance between investments in operations, human resources, capital facilities, and technology to generate the resources necessary to maintain and expand our mission of teaching, research, health care, and service.

 

To fund current needs and make progress toward the ambitious goals within our Strategic Plan, we are asking: 

1. Can we grow enrollment strategically over the next five years to educate more students and generate new resources for reinvestment in our campus and our academic enterprise, while maintaining quality?

2. What other initiatives – whether through innovations in online learning; new graduate programs that meet specific workforce needs; or helping more students who are close to a degree complete their work – can we implement to increase student success and generate new resources?

3. Where can we generate more savings in our operations? We have been innovators in creating more energy-efficient buildings and managing revenues more effectively. Are there other sources of savings we can find by working even smarter?

4. Is there important administrative work that can be shared or support that can be provided in ways that make us more productive?

5. How do these new initiatives align with our Strategic Plan?

 

These strategic efforts are further necessitated by financial and policy headwinds, including: 

  • Expected fixed cost increases and the necessity of providing predictable pay raises to recruit and retain faculty and staff;

  • Declining number of eligible UK students graduating from high school in Kentucky; 

  • Disruptive innovations in the delivery of educational materials and coursework;

  • Evolving metrics and requirements within the state’s performance-based funding formula, which will increasingly determine state appropriations;

  • Growing health care and benefit costs; and

  • A more stringent state fiscal climate buffeted by a significant pension crisis (Figure 1; Grapevine FY18-19)

Figure 1: State Support for Higher Education, FY18-19 (Grapevine)

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