Bevin's budget could force Kentucky State University to close, p - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin's budget could force Kentucky State University to close, president says

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KSU President Raymond Burse KSU President Raymond Burse

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The president of Kentucky State University says his school may be forced to close.

Shutting down the university is the worst case scenario, but KSU President Raymond Burse says it could happen if Bevin's budget plan is not changed.

"We had a very frank conversation, shared the facts with him," said Burse about his talks with the governor.

Burse says Bevin's current budget plan would cut too deep, and the 130-year old historically black college in Frankfort couldn't take the hit.

"We either have to declare a financial exigency or we have to put together a closure plan neither one of which are acceptable to me," said Burse.

KSU's main money challenge is declining enrollment.

In 2014, students who weren't paying their bills were not allowed to re-enroll. Burse also enforced an admissions policy where students had to have at least an 18 ACT and 2.5 GPA.

Burse says the university's enrollment budget has since dropped from 2,500 students to 1,700 students.

"So if you consider that we're already down financially based on student enrollment and if there's an added cut on top of that, it makes for a very tough challenge," said Burse.

To help close a $500 million gap in the state budget, Governor Bevin wants a 4.5 percent spending reduction this year and a 9 percent reduction over the next two years.

Burse says that would mean KSU could lose about $10 million a year.

A Bevin spokeswoman said, "President Burse has shared his concerns with the Governor and KSU's tuition stabilization proposal is being evaluated within that broader context."

Burse's stabilization plan would get more students to enroll and improve the graduation rate. He addressed his concerns in a newsletter Monday to the campus community.

"If it were to shut down I'd probably have to move and I don't know if I could afford to go to a different school," said KSU freshman Malik Robinson.

"It is heartbreaking because, you know, you come to an institution hoping that you can grow,” said KSU transfer students Cheyney Carney, “and just to see it kind of crashing down it's not something the students want to hear."

Bevin's budget has to be passed by mid-April.

For more on how his proposal could affect the University of Louisville – click here.

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