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Murray State University officials detail compensation study results

Digital Media Murray State

Murray State University leadership went over proposals to better compensate some of its faculty and staff during a budget town hall Thursday.

Following a yearlong compensation review conducted by Evergreen Solutions, MSU president Bob Jackson detailed recommended pay raises for school employees that were found to be paid below market rate.

More than 51% of faculty and nearly 62% of staff would see pay increases, if the plan is approved during June’s board of regents meeting.

Jackson called the compensation review, which compared employees with counterparts at similar institutions, an “eye-opening experience.” The university president said that administrators were left out of the compensation study, and that a separate study will be conducted for those positions in the coming years.

He also described the total cost to implement raises – $3.7 million – as “a big number.”

The average increase for faculty would be over $5,700 and around $3,800 for staff. The raise would be spooled out in a multi-year plan, with one-third being included in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget.

The most any employee’s wages could increase would be 15% under the Evergreen Solutions recommendations. The pay adjustments would see the minimum wage among Murray State employees go from $10.10 to $13.50, a 34% jump.

These increases come in addition to a proposed 2% cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for all employees. It’s estimated to cost $1.4 million for the school to apply the COLA to all employees. University administrators approved what it said was the biggest since the Fiscal Year 2000 last year – a ranged adjustment of 3% increase “across the board” and a $500 dollar flat component.

Any employee hired prior to April 1, 2024, will be eligible to receive a COLA.

Other university matters discussed during the town hall:

  • The proposed undergraduate tuition increase for FY2025 is 1.98% and the proposed graduate tuition rate increase is 3%. 
  • MSU’s appropriation from the Kentucky legislature will see a net increase of $2.7 million. 
  • The school will retain its $2 million one-time budget contingency.
A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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