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University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville students are looking at the 17th tuition increase in 18 years beginning this fall.

President Neeli Bendapudi’s administration proposes a 2.5 percent hike in tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year, the maximum amount allowed for U of L by Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education.

The increase would bring tuition and mandatory fees for in-state, fulltime undergraduate students to $11,746.50, up from $11,460 currently.

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“Are we excited – thrilled to do it? No. But it’s a necessary evil today,” Bendapudi said Thursday.

Bendapudi said the main reason is to provide increases for faculty and staff salaries in the 2 percent range.

“Part of it is to stay competitive; we are losing good people,” Bendapudi said.

While state support to public universities has dwindled in the last 15 years, driving tuition higher year after year, U of L actually expects its appropriation from Kentucky to remain flat at about $126 million in the budget year that starts July 1.

U of L’s tuition, adjusted for inflation, has more than doubled since 2001-02.

The 2.5 percent increase still must be approved by the university’s board of trustees, which plans a budget workshop in May and aims to sign off on U of L’s $1.2 billion budget by June 30.

U of L officials disclosed the proposed tuition hike during a trustees meeting on Thursday, but there was little discussion of the matter.

Trustee Mary Nixon, a former Yum! Brands executive who chairs the board’s finance committee, said she supports the increase and thinks other board members will as well.

“We’re trying to figure out how we can make some investments in the university and (tuition) is one of the levers we have,” she said.

Bendapudi said her goal to eventually hold tuition flat by reducing the size of annual increases by about half each year.

“Also, remember, it’s an aspiration that we have,” she said.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822,, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and