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Learn about University of Kentucky, including Featured News, Key Projects, The Team, and Outstanding UK Debt.
The University of Kentucky has a broad range of resources centered on a single campus in the heart of the Bluegrass. Our wide array of programs allows us to excel in multidisciplinary studies and fosters an environment of cooperative engagement across all colleges, programs, and research endeavors. Because of the lives we touch and teach, we remain anchored in our mission to Kentucky– to educate, innovate, heal, and serve. To be sure, our complex, multi-faceted mission looks different today in many ways than it did in 1865. However, our sense of responsibility to our communities on campus and across the region is resolute. The mission has evolved and grown. The vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world beyond remains the same. They remain our compass – the soul of the University of Kentucky.
By Jay Blanton Sept. 10, 2021
**LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2021) — **Building upon record retention and graduation rates, the University of Kentucky will report an all-time enrollment of nearly 31,800 students for Fall 2021, according to preliminary figures released Friday.
The preliminary numbers also demonstrate continued increases in the diversity of the UK campus, with the percentage of underrepresented minorities (URM) reaching 16% of the student body, at a little over 5,000 students, up 6% over the last year alone (URM is the state classification for students of color). Additionally, the preliminary data show an almost 10% increase in the number of graduate and professional students in the UK community, a significant factor in the institution’s overall enrollment growth.
The 31,776 students enrolled as undergraduate, graduate and professional students in Fall 2021 is up 2.1% from last year’s record high of 31,110, UK officials said. This growth continues a more than five-year trajectory of dramatic increases in student success as evidenced by retention and graduation rates.
First-time, first-year enrollment remained basically flat, preliminary numbers show, with 4,764 students enrolled this fall, compared to 4,891 in Fall 2020. That’s two years of enrollment impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, UK officials said. About 68% of students in the first-year class are resident students from Kentucky, not radically dissimilar from the last several years.
“We are increasingly a first-choice university for students and families who want an institution that puts their success and their goals first,” UK President Eli Capilouto said in discussing the preliminary figures with the institution’s Board of Trustees Friday. “From access and affordability, to supporting students with the resources they need, to outstanding faculty providing a world-class educational experience, we put students first in everything that we do. These numbers unequivocally demonstrate that commitment to students at every level of what we do.
As we come out of the pandemic, we are well-positioned to strategically grow again as part of our commitment to advancing Kentucky by educating and graduating more students, who are poised to join the workforce and help lead and transform communities.”
A snapshot of retention and graduation rate growth that underpins the record growth includes:
“We have intentionally and strategically designed the holistic and comprehensive support we provide to students at every level,” said Kirsten Turner, UK’s vice president for student success. “The result is lowering barriers of cost for students to help them come to UK and then providing them with the support and scaffolding they need once they are here to help them find their path."
Evidence of this support, UK officials said, is the continued growth and success of first-generation students and students of color as well as increasing numbers of students choosing to transfer to UK. For example, in Fall 2021:
In its previous strategic plan, UK set as a goal graduation and retention rates of 70% and 90%, respectively — numbers the institution is rapidly making progress toward reaching as the university prepares a new strategic plan that the board will consider in October. Those numbers would place UK firmly among the top public institutions in the country. Fewer than 100 (92) four-year public universities (out of several hundred) have a six-year graduation rate of 70% or greater.
“We are making tremendous progress toward our goals,” Capilouto said. “We use these numbers to measure progress but we never lose sight that behind the numbers are our students, their families and the communities from which they come — all advancing Kentucky through pursuing a college education. To that end, we have made — and are making — tremendous progress. There is more work to do. But it is undeniable that we are a place that fundamentally understands our role in making an outstanding education accessible and then supporting and preparing students for success — something our world needs now more than ever.”
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.
By Eli Capilouto Aug. 20, 2021
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2021) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto shared updates to the Fall 2021 planning guide with the campus community Thursday, Aug. 19.
The guidebook provides an overview of policies, recommendations, guidelines and expectations for members of the UK community. The president will continue providing regular updates about UK’s response to COVID-19 with the campus community on a weekly basis.
You can read the president's message from Thursday, Aug. 19, below.
Dear Campus Community, Last Friday, we shared with you an initial draft of our Fall 2021 Guidebook — an overview of policies designed to keep our campus safe and healthy as we provide a residential experience this fall. We detailed more specific guidance on our indoor masking policy, and we asked for you to provide your invaluable feedback. As of the end of the day on Tuesday, we received anonymous responses from nearly 450 UK community members. We are grateful to all those who took time to review the Fall Guidebook and send us input. Many of you asked for additional clarification on specific policies, and others asked thoughtful questions. We shared the recurring themes from your comments and questions with the workgroup of elected faculty, staff and student representatives along with administrators and then we returned to the guidebook to incorporate your feedback. This afternoon, we are sharing an updated version of our Fall Guidebook with you. Of course, we know that we live amid evolving circumstances. We have been committed, since the beginning of this pandemic, to adjusting our policies when science and data signal a need to do so. A good example is our current indoor making policy, which we adjusted due to elevated concerns about the Delta variant. Another example, based directly upon feedback from our community, was to allow people to unmask while active on workout equipment or in spaces such as basketball courts in one of our campus recreational facilities. At all other times, while in those facilities, masks are required regardless of vaccination status. We also clarified, for example, in response to questions about the classroom context, that face shields can be used in addition to masks. The Fall Guidebook, of course, reflects the current recommendations of our team of medical and public health experts, as well as thoughtful feedback we received from you. View the Updated Fall 2021 Guidebook We continue striving to reach — and to exceed — an 80 percent vaccination rate among our students, faculty and staff. And, we are continuing to make meaningful progress toward that important goal. Just this week, we’ve received thousands of self-reported vaccine documentation from our students. This is incredibly important, as vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19. We encourage all members of the UK family to be vaccinated, if you haven’t already. Get Vaccinated
As a reminder, all unvaccinated students are required to complete a COVID-19 entry test by August 27 and to participate in ongoing testing throughout the semester. This is necessary to remain in compliance with the Code of Student Conduct. Schedule Your Test
Thank you for everything you are doing to keep our community healthy and safe. Eli Capilouto
By UK Athletics June 24, 2021
**LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2021) — **The following are statements from University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari, Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops and Kentucky women's basketball head coach Kyra Elzy regarding today's executive order by Gov. Andy Beshear on name, image, likeness.
Mitch Barnhart will also be available to the media via virtual press conference on Friday at 2 p.m.
Mitch Barnhart, UK athletics director "Today's executive order from the Governor provides us the flexibility we need at this time to further develop policies around Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). We are appreciative of that support as it is a bridge until such time as state and/or federal laws are enacted. The landscape of college sports is now in the midst of dramatic and historic change — perhaps the biggest set of shifts and changes since scholarships were first awarded decades ago. What won't change is our core and most important principle — the well-being and development of our student athletes, while they are at UK and, as importantly, in preparing them for success in life, on whatever path they choose. We are extremely well-positioned to help our student-athletes navigate this new and complex terrain. Much of what we need to do to support students in terms of NIL — through The Kentucky Road initiative — has been in place for some time. We have a strong foundation, which we will now work to build on."
You can read more about The Kentucky Road initiative here: https://ukathletics.com/news/2019/10/15/general-uk-unveils-the-kentucky-road https://ukathletics.com/news/2021/6/16/general-uk-athletics-affirms-commitment-to-student-athletes-through-the-kentucky-road.aspx
John Calipari, UK men's basketball head coach "We are entering into an exciting age in college athletics. At the University of Kentucky, we have always put student-athletes first and today's executive order by Gov. Andy Beshear — who I want to thank for making this a priority — will empower universities across the state to support their young men and women better than ever. Whether we are talking about name, image and likeness, lifetime scholarships, financial literacy, health and wellness, or player welfare, student-athletes have been at the center of every decision at Kentucky. With today's announcement, we continue to take positive steps forward in supporting our student-athletes to an even greater degree statewide. They deserve our time, effort and resources in making sure they have the opportunities to benefit from the hard work they put into their athletic and educational careers. As we wait on federal legislation, our program will continue to support, elevate and educate our kids."
Mark Stoops, UK football head coach "Supporting our student-athletes is at the center of Kentucky Athletics and today's announcement is another step in that direction. Name, image and likeness issues are at the forefront of college athletics and we appreciate Gov. Beshear helping us address current needs while long-term solutions are being developed on the national level. Our established principles of educational excellence, athletic success and personal development have us well-positioned as the NIL process begins."
Kyra Elzy, UK women's basketball head coach "I appreciate Gov. Beshear stepping up and making student-athletes in the state of Kentucky a priority. The University of Kentucky has been a leader in name, image and likeness. I know our administration will work with the Governor's office to ensure that student-athletes in Kentucky will continue to take the necessary steps to stay atop of NIL issues."
The Cornerstone serves as the gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further link the University with the City of Lexington. The project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2020. The Cornerstone property will allow UK to provide much-needed additional parking capacity on the north side of campus, by expanding the existing parking structure at Limestone and Upper Streets to include more than 900 new spaces. These additional parking spaces will further improve mobility and access to, from and around campus for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
The ground floor of The Cornerstone will include a flexible, technology-rich innovation space with a variety of programming to stimulate conversation and collaboration between students, faculty, staff and community. Other features of The Cornerstone include a gamers' lounge, a multiuse 100-seat theater that can host esports tournaments, hold classes, and be the home for a myriad of other events and a food hall with shared seating to create additional opportunity to build community and collaboration.
To read more about The Cornerstone project, please visit the website here.
The University's Renew/Modernize Facilities Capital Project is a multi-phase effort to renew and modernize buildings that make up the core of central campus. By rehabilitating, restoring, and modernizing these facilities, the University can better preserve its heritage, conserve energy, create an environment for more efficient and effective teaching, and attract productive researchers. The project will include modernization efforts on the Chemistry-Physics Building, Frazee Hall, Patterson Office Tower, White Hall Classroom Building, Enoch Grehan Journalism Building as well as other buildings in the core of central campus.
The University of Kentucky's Student Center was originally constructed in 1938 and expanded in 1968 and 1982. The Project replaced the outdated existing student center with a state-of-the art new facility, retaining the historic original 1938 portion of the building and preserving the Alumni Gymnasium originally constructed in 1924. The renovated and expanded facility accommodates a growing student enrollment and includes an atrium, recreation area, lounges, conference facilities, entertainment venues, retail space, food service, bookstore, student organization space, and administrative support offices.
The Albert B. Chandler Hospital Facilities Development Plan (Development Plan) provides for the systemic replacement and renovation of patient care facilities. Since the opening of the first two patient care floors in Pavilion A of the new patient care facility in May 2011, UK HealthCare (UKHC) has continued to experience strong patient demand for the delivery of its hospital system services. This volume increase has placed substantial capacity and throughout constraints on the hospital system operations, requiring continued fit-out of Pavilion A and the renovation of Pavilions H, HA, and G to provide adequate facilities for patient care.
The University of Kentucky primarily issues General Receipts Bonds. These bonds are secured by a general receipts pledge, as defined below. The total pledged revenues for FY 2020 were $3.1B.
"General Receipts" means:
(a) certain operating and non-operating revenues of the University, being (i) Student Registration Fees, (ii) nongovernmental grants and contracts, (iii) recoveries of facilities and administrative costs, (iv) sales and services, (v) Hospital Revenues, (vi) Housing and Dining Revenues, (vii) auxiliary enterprises – other auxiliaries, (viii) auxiliary enterprises – athletics, (ix) other operating revenues, (x) state appropriations (for general operations), (xi) gifts and grants, (xii) investment income, (xiii) other nonoperating revenues, and (xiv) other;
(b) but excluding (i) any receipts described in clause (a) which are contracts, grants, gifts, donations or pledges and receipts therefrom which, under restrictions imposed in such contracts, grants, gifts, donations or pledges, or, which as a condition of the receipt thereof or of amounts payable thereunder are not available for payment of Debt Service Charges, (ii) federal grants and contracts, (iii) state and local grants and contracts, (iv) federal appropriations, (v) county appropriations, (vi) professional clinical service fees, (vii) capital appropriations, (viii) capital grants and gifts, and (ix) additions to permanent endowments, including research challenge trust funds.
*General receipts debt includes the 2019A&B Certificates of Participation which have a subordinate general receipts pledge.
**The 2010 QECB's have a balloon payment of $12,955,000 coming due in 2025 and is reflected in the Annual Debt Service graph above.