NKU is trying to work through an $18.7M budget deficit
Northern Kentucky University is trying to figure out how to get back in the black after discovering a deficit of $18.7 million.
NKU attributes the financial shortfall to “greater competition from online providers, a shift to more flexible, career-focused, lower cost, certificates and credentials and changing student demographics.” The university says COVID-19 accelerated the changes.
NKU declined to provide WVXU with an interview but did release a statement: “These changes have created a short-term financial challenge that the university is addressing to strengthen our ability to meet the ambitions of our students and the region. The university is already moving forward with plans to reduce the $18.7M shortfall, which is just under 7% of the university’s overall budget.”
What’s the plan?
The university hopes to erase the shortfall in two years. The statement continues, “We are moving to realize and reallocate our resources to increase investment where we are seeing growing demand for the high-quality education we provide. We are aligning and repositioning our academic curriculum to meet student demand, increasing efforts in both traditional and non-traditional enrollment and realigning institutional aid to provide more aid to students in need.”
NKU’s newspaper, The Northerner, reported on the deficit.
The paper reports, “The university aims to reduce $600,000 in personnel expenses, $725,000 in operating expenses, $500,000 in parking services, $550,000 in housing, $200,000 in advancement and $325,000 in outsourcing functions.”
The paper goes on to say, “one of the plan’s most vital aspects is to decrease instructional costs by approximately $6.7 million, which at the moment occupies a large chunk of the deficit. Provost and Executive President for Academic Affairs Matt Cecil said that NKU will be more careful about approving tenure over the next three years. By cutting into part-time or adjunct faculty positions, NKU hopes to reduce institutional costs by $4.1 million over the 2024-2025 fiscal years.”
President of the Faculty Senate John Farrar says, "The faculty are concerned and to a certain point, a little angry about what happened. But I think we are moving towards a plan to deal with it."
Farrar says NKU has faced money problems before with state cuts, so he's confident the university will be able to solve its financial issues.