The student body president at Western Kentucky University says recent cuts to higher education will be detrimental to the state’s public colleges and universities, but for now, he thinks WKU is weathering a storm that could become more severe.
After House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a budget compromise, Governor Matt Bevin issued an executive order to cut higher education funding by 4.5% before the end of this fiscal year. For WKU, that amounts to more than $3.3 million.
Jay Todd Richey, president of the Student Government Association, fears a trend is developing in higher education.
"A cut like this from the governor does nothing to ease my fear that we're facing a privatization of higher education in this country," Richey told WKU Public Radio.
Richey says he agrees with President Ransdell’s decision to tap into the school’s reserve fund to make up for the cut.
The junior from Glasgow says he’s concerned about the school’s long-term financial stability, citing bond debt and stagnant enrollment. He hopes future budget cuts are not offset by tuition increases.
The Kentucky House and Senate remain at odds over whether to cut higher education funding even more in the next two-year budget.