Kent State expected to lose $12-15 million in funding, according to email

A group walks along the Kent State esplanade toward downtown. 

Henry Palattella

Students in Kent State’s Honors College received an unexpected email Wednesday afternoon that listed the updates from the Business Administrator Forum that was held earlier in the day.

The email, which listed six major points that were outlined in the meeting, said Kent State was “projected to lose 12-15 million in funding due to numerous circumstances including the state reducing funding, a drop in international student enrollment and freeze on tuition rate increases/fee increases.”

Eric Mansfield, a spokesperson of the university, released the following statement pertaining to the budget year: 

“University leaders continually evaluate fluid enrollment and financial data to the make the best short and long-term recommendations for the successful operation of Kent State.  With the fall semester quickly approaching, many options and approaches are being considered prior to the submission of a balanced budget to the Board of Trustees, which will ultimately approve the financial path forward.” 

The email goes on to say that the university will still be operating on the 2017 budget, but that a new budget will need to be proposed to the board on September 15.

The email was sent by Elizabeth Kudravy, who is the Administrative Secretary to the Honors College, and contained her notes from the meeting. 

The email also dealt with Kent State’s hiring of personnel, saying:

“There is not currently a hiring freeze. There is no proposal for a hiring freeze. They are approving replacements for positions vacated by the staff buyout on ‘mission critical basis.’ For example, accounts receivable had 4 people in a dept. and lost 3, those are critical positions to be replaced.”

This was followed later by a short paragraph saying that “A recommendation for a salary increase has been discussed and will be proposed to the board (no rate information available.)”

The email also touched on the University Mass Communication System, dubbed FlashAlerts, which was displayed in a presentation by officer Jeff Futo. The email states FlashAlerts are secondary to speaker/fire alarm/phone messages and are typically used for lesser emergencies. It also says the university is hoping to establish an alert system for all study abroad locations by the end of the academic year.  

The email also provided an update regarding Aramark as Kent State’s new dining services provider. Aramark must be given the first right of service for events/happenings on the Kent campus, but they are not required when purchasing food or beverages off campus.

On August 3, Mark Polatajko, the vice president of finance and administration, sent an email to Kent State community and faculty, noting the overall financial health of the university is “sound,” but there are challenges the university will have to overcome to keep balanced. 

“These challenges include a two-year state budget with no provision for tuition and fee increases for in-state undergraduates, no additional Supplemental Security Income funding, and a steep decline in international and graduate enrollment at Kent State in the coming academic year,” Polatajko wrote. “We must address the decline in revenue in an appropriate and timely manner to ensure the future health of our institution.”

Henry Palattella is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].