By Murray Evans
The Associated Press
LEXINGTON - University of Kentucky trustees voted Tuesday to raise tuition for the second year in a row.
In-state students will pay between $309 and $434 more per semester, with upperclassmen receiving the brunt of the increased costs. Students in departments the school has deemed more expensive to run - including law, engineering and medicine - will have to pay even more.
Students already are dealing with a 15 percent tuition increase that took effect in fall 2003. An in-state freshman or sophomore at the university next fall will pay at least $5,164.50 per year, up from $4,546.50, an increase of $618. Nonresident freshmen or sophomore students will pay at least $11,944.50 per year, up from $11,226.50.
Juniors and seniors will pay an extra $768 (in-state) or $868 (out of state) more per year than they're paying now.
The extra money charged to students who are in the more expensive departments will go into those departments' budgets, UK President Lee Todd said.
"You're aligning the cost with the price," Todd said of the reasoning behind charging students in certain departments more than others. "It costs more to teach upper-level students than lower-level students. It costs more to teach engineers than it costs to teach other disciplines."
Trustees approved the increase nearly unanimously, with only the student representative, Rachel Watts, voting in opposition.
"I know that (students) are very concerned" about the tuition increase, Watts said. "I would hope our that our legislature is very concerned.
"Many students at UK might not be able to afford to come here next year. They can't afford the rising costs and really what they see to be a tax on students."
Many of the 11 board members who spoke about the issue during the meeting were unhappy about raising tuition. Most publicly blamed lawmakers and Gov. Ernie Fletcher for a lack of state funding, which trustees said forced their hand.
"The waste, fraud and abuse argument, when applied to UK, is fiction," said trustee Michael Kennedy, the faculty representative on the board. "It is not fat that is being cut. The knife is into organs and muscle, as we lose talented faculty, cut programs and increase class sizes."
During his campaign for governor, Fletcher said he could solve the state's budget woes by cutting waste, fraud and abuse from state government. He reiterated that on Tuesday.
"I appreciate the fact that UK President Lee Todd has cut positions; however, I feel there is a need for every institution, including state government, to ask its employees to help it become more streamlined and efficient," Fletcher said.
Fletcher wanted to find $100 million in this year's budget, which ends July 1, to carry over into next year's budget in an attempt to avoid drastic spending cuts.
State universities were ordered to contribute $41 million of that total. UK's share was $16.7 million.
That raised to $73.8 million the amount of cuts in state appropriations experienced by UK since the 2001-02 academic year, UK President Lee Todd said.
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