Lincoln University will pay the increased cost of employees’ health care, President Jerald Jones Woolfolk told curators Thursday.
Monthly premiums are going up about $125 a month, she reported.
“I just did not feel, nor did the Cabinet feel, that that was a burden our employees should be bearing, in light of the fact that they have not received raises in a number of years,” she said.
Sandy Koetting, LU’s vice president for finance, found money in Lincoln’s existing budget to cover the increased costs, Woolfolk said, adding: “Our employees will continue to pay the $23 (premium).”
Woolfolk acknowledged the subsidy “is not much, but, as we grow our enrollment and our tuition, we do have, at the top of our list, providing some way to increase pay.”
Math teacher Stephanie Clark, current chair of the Faculty Senate, reported the school’s teachers also have been discussing the state of health insurance and were pleased with Woolfolk’s decision to help.
“It was definitely meaningful that Dr. Woolfolk has made it a priority to invest in employees,” Clark told the curators, noting insurance costs have an impact on recruiting new faculty and staff.
Woolfolk told the News Tribune after Thursday’s meeting: “I hope people would not be concerned” about the additional subsidy, “because we (already) cover part of their insurance, anyway.”
The main focus of Thursday’s meeting was a 40-minute presentation from BKD CPAs, the Springfield-based firm that does Lincoln’s annual audit.
Although Curators looked at a number of detailed charts and graphs and asked questions about details in the report, the main news was auditors found no problems and gave LU what’s known as a “clean” report.
Woolfolk told a reporter: “We’re very pleased with that. … We’re in pretty good (financial) shape (and) we’re going to get in better shape.”
LU officials are developing requests for proposals to redesign Lincoln’s website (lincolnu.edu) and to bring a brick-and-mortar bookstore back to the campus, in addition to the current online offerings.
Woolfolk said some of the Title III grant for technology will be used for the website improvements.
No deadline was set, yet, on when those proposals would be set for bids, needing the Curators’ approval.
Lincoln already is attracting applications for the school year that begins next fall.
“That’s good news,” Woolfolk said. “The great thing is, we haven’t actually developed our (recruiting) plan, but I’m a former enrollment manager,” as is Student Affairs Vice President Marcus Chanay.
“So, we’ve worked the plans before (and) we know what the plans (should) look like,” Woolfolk added. “We are going off the experience that we have and what should be done as we increase our enrollment and recruit students.”
Woolfolk also pointed curators to an article in HBCU Digest, a national publication, on Lincoln’s Wednesday announcement 100 percent of the LU Nursing School’s 37 graduates from May 2018 passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and have been licensed as nurses.
“We should be very proud” that news of LU’s successes is being spread nationwide, Woolfolk said.
An LU news release this week noted the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reported a total of 200,448 aspiring nurses took the exam in 2018 — with 76 percent of them passing.
“The field of nursing requires a passion, and that passion is evident in the work of our students who matriculate through our programs,” Ann McSwain, dean of the Lincoln University School of Nursing, said in the news release.
“The same can be said for our faculty who work so hard to educate our future leaders in health care.”