Lawmakers are Told Higher Education is Key to Lifting Citizens out of Poverty
The head of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education foresees a dire future for higher education if the state can’t correct its budget woes soon. CPE President Robert King told a budget subcommittee today that Governor Steve Beshear’s 6.4 percent budget cut on higher education will definitely mean higher tuition for college students. But another increase won’t be enough to fill the hole created by four years of budget cuts.
“But if we were to raise tuition seven percent for all students, full-time, part-time, in-state, out of state, graduate, undergraduate, etc. It would only produce sixty-one million dollars of revenue against one hundred and twenty to sixty million dollars of hole we have to fill," King told the panel.
Those numbers are based on the CPE’s projections on university needs for building maintenance, faculty retention and operating expenses. King says those areas have either not been funded or have been severely cut in past years. King has one piece of good news for students. He says despite the budget cuts, CPE will not allow universities to increase tuition seven percent or more.
As part of his presentation, King pleaded with lawmakers to focus on education as a way to fix the state’s poverty problems. He said if the state funded higher education then budget drains like Medicare and jail funds would decrease.
“What I think this shows us is that we are expending our money and our public policies to the symptoms and now starting to seriously underfund the cure (of poverty),” he said.
Reduction of financial commitments or budget cuts has left universities unable to maintain buildings and retain faculty, much less make needed improvements, he told the committee.