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Dear Colleagues:

While we have been working to map out NKU’s path during COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky General Assembly has been meeting to develop a biennial state budget for the Commonwealth. Lawmakers, recognizing that state revenues are very uncertain at this time, produced a one-year budget with plans to return in 2021 with a better understanding of the financial impact of the pandemic.

The key elements of the proposed 2020-2021 budget for NKU are:

  • Performance Fund: No new investment was made to higher education, either through operational dollars or the Performance Fund. While previous versions of the budget had included new funding, the legislature chose to remove this funding as part of budget reductions based upon their best estimate of revenues lost due to COVID-19. NKU’s state appropriation will essentially be the same as it was this year, with minor shifts based upon Performance Fund allocations. As part of the performance fund, there is a 2% stop loss provision which is just over $1 million.

  • Pension: The legislature passed Senate Bill 249 delaying all pension decisions by one year. Our Board of Regents had previously discussed NKU’s future in the system based upon provisions in House Bill 1 from this past year’s special session. Those provisions remain the same. While we will continue to discuss these options over the coming year, the new deadline for a decision to be made is January 1, 2021. Our contribution rate will be frozen at its current level (49.5%) throughout this yearlong delay.

  • Asset Preservation: In the Governor’s, House and Senate versions of the budget, funds were appropriated to invest in asset preservation on university campuses. Due to the COVID-19 situation, these funds were removed in the final version of the budget.

Over the next two weeks, Governor Beshear will review this budget and has line-item veto authority over it. Following his review, the legislature will reconvene to consider override of any vetoes, and then adjourn no later than April 15. We will share any updates or new information on the budget.

NKU’s budget will be delivered to our Board of Regents in May for their approval. By then, we will also know the Council on Postsecondary Education’s caps they will set on our tuition. I will look forward to sharing more information on our budget at the upcoming Open Forum. I would like to thank Faculty Senate, Staff Congress, SGA and others for their input on the various scenarios we have presented to date.

Even in these uncertain times, we can count on each other and our commitment to our students. We know NKU’s community is strong and will stay connected virtually. And on that note, I hope to continue my weekly video messages as well.

Thank you for everything that you do for NKU. Be safe and healthy.



Ashish K. Vaidya, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123
Fax: 859-572-6696