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MSU Board of Regents approves budget for next fiscal year

Murray State Board of Regents Livestream

Murray State University’s Board of Regents approved the operating budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year on Friday.

MSU Vice President of Finances and Administrative Services Jackie Dudley said the budget for the upcoming fiscal year increased by $6.9 million from the 2022-2023 budget, bringing the 2023-24 budget to around $165 million.

The approved budget includes a cost of living adjustment (COLA) raise for Murray State employees between 3.3 and 5.5%. At a budget town hall meeting in April, Dudley said the COLA includes a 3% salary increase for every employee and a flat $500 raise.

MSU President Bob Jackson said the 4.57% average COLA for employees is the school’s highest in 23 years.

The Social Security Administrationapproved an 8.7% COLA increase for social security recipients in December 2022 in an effort to keep benefits and payments on pace with inflation. That COLA is based on increases in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022.

The budget also includes a minimum wage for student workers at $8 per hour. The average wage for MSU student workers, which are set departmentally, was $8.15 per hour for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Regents also approved a 2.9% tuition increase, which was included in the approved budget. In-state tuition for the 2022-23 school year was $4,716 per semester for full-time students. Tuition for out-of-state full-time students ranged between $4,989 and $7,164 per semester, depending on the student’s legal residence.

At Friday’s meeting, Dudley said on average about 40% of the school’s total tuition is covered by scholarships, grants and other discounts.

Based on Board Chair Don Tharpe’s recommendation, regents also approved a one-year contract extension for Jackson, as well as a salary increase commensurate with approved salary increases for other university employees. Tharpe shared a summary of the board’s evaluation of Jackson in his role leading the university, and called Jackson’s leadership “highly effective.”

Other campus projects were also brought up at Friday’s meeting. Facilities Management Director Jason Youngblood gave an update on the new, planned nursing building. He said the project is projected to begin construction in March 2024, with a planned completion in 2026.

Mason Hall, which currently houses nursing and other health professionals programs, is being evaluated for programs it could host once the nursing program moves to a new building. Some of those programs that could fill Mason Hall include a dental hygienist program as well as some classes for exercise science.

On Friday, MSU also dedicated a lecture hall in the Engineering Building as the Dr. Don I. Tharpe Lecture Hall, honoring the outgoing board chair. Tharpe, elected chair in June 2022, is the first African-American MSU Board of Regents chair. He was appointed to serve on the university’s board of regents in 2017.

Leon Owens, who served as vice chair of the board for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, was elected as chair of the board for the upcoming fiscal year. Virginia Gray was elected to serve as vice chair.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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