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To: Faculty and Staff
From: Cady Short-Thompson, Ph.D.
President, Northern Kentucky University
Date: 02/20/24
Subject: Legislative update for February 2024

Dear NKU campus community,

As the Kentucky General Assembly continues its work this legislative session, I have a few updates about bills that impact the work that we do.

The House has passed HB6, its version of the budget. HB6 has several areas that are good for NKU and increases funding for our work. A couple of those items in this budget we feel good about are:

  • The proposed budget provides an increase of $4.2M over the biennium to our general fund appropriation, as well as an increase of $4M each year to the performance funding model, a portion of which will be distributed to NKU. 
  • NKU would also receive $46M over the biennium for asset preservation, which provides dollars for essential facility maintenance, renovations and repairs to our buildings, and for capital projects, without requiring an institutional match.
  • The budget also provides $3.8M over the biennium to address the increase in our fire and tornado insurance premiums.  

We are thankful for the support that the House has provided NKU in this budget. We continue to engage members of the Senate as they craft and develop their version of the budget and are optimistic as we move forward.  

Since my last update, several new bills have been filed that could have an impact on NKU. Senate Bill 191 is one of those bills.  This legislation would amend the performance funding model to add metrics related to nontraditional age students and place more emphasis on low-income student success metrics. These changes can benefit NKU as we continue to focus on student-success goals that align with the goals of the Commonwealth and our region.

Senate Bill 1 is also new since the January update. This bill would establish an endowed research fund consisting of appropriations, federal grants and other funds, which will fund research consortiums between two or more public universities. This stands to be very good for NKU, as we work with the state’s other universities to identify and partner on research that advances the Commonwealth. SB1 creates a fund and process to support this critical research and access larger funding opportunities.

We continue to monitor and track other legislation that has been filed, most notably bills related to concealed carry, free speech on campus and post-tenure review.   

Of course, I know many in our community are concerned with much of the proposed legislation around DEI. I share those concerns. NKU is and will continue to be an inclusive community. A quick walk through campus is all you need to see how many different races, genders, cultures, religions, and backgrounds are represented, celebrated, and supported here.  NKU will continue to foster an inclusive environment where everyone is supported and a wide variety of thoughts and opinions are encouraged. I appreciate and am committed to the many ways that our staff and faculty create a sense of belonging for our students. Our student success metrics tell us that these programs and services are highly effective; moreover, we know this from the voices of our students who laud our staff and faculty for the positive role they’ve played in their lives. In fact, our staff and faculty who engage in this work are critical to our goals of increased recruitment and retention rates, improved time-to-degree pace, and record-high graduation rates of our students.

As I said last month and as I will say every day, we are a student ready, regionally engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility. As such, we need to do all we can to recruit students to NKU who will then stay and work in high-demand careers in Northern Kentucky. We are the economic engine and talent pipeline of this region. This is our work; this work will not change. Please know that we will continue to approach any legislation that impacts our work with our mission and vision in the forefront of our minds.

We continue to meet with members of the General Assembly in Frankfort every week to share our thoughts on pieces of legislation, but also the impact that NKU continues to have on our region and the Commonwealth. We are doing great work. It’s work that changes the lives of our students every day.

I will continue to provide updates as the legislative session progresses. As always, thank you for all you do for NKU.

Best Regards,

Cady Short-Thompson, Ph.D.

President, Northern Kentucky University