The leader of Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education is joining others in calling for the Governor to renew funding for the state's colleges and universities.
CPE President Bob King and officials from Kentucky's postsecondary institutions have signed a newspaper op-ed pointing out that 70,000 students who qualified for need-based aid last year went without.
King says state campuses have had to take revenue from students who could pay full tuition to help fund aid programs that Pell Grants and state programs can no longer fully support.
"The aid that's being provided by the institutions means that those dollars that they are otherwise receiving in the form of tuition can't be spent to hire more faculty, or to (purchase) more computing equipment or laboratory equipment--all the things that we need to enhance the academic experience for our students," King said during a phone interview.
King's comments come ahead of Governor Beshear's budget address Tuesday evening in Frankfort.
WKU has been awarded a $150,000 grant to support early childhood education.
The funding from the PNC Foundation will be used to produce videos that will expose children to the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. The videos will be distributed to places such as libraries, housing authorities, and preschools in Kentucky and Tennessee.
"The hardest thing about changing the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in Kentucky relates to the fact that unless you stimulate interest early and students are really prepared to be successful when they go to college in those areas, then it's not going to happen," said Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU.
Kentucky will need to fill 74,000 STEM jobs by 2018, yet only 12 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the state are in STEM fields.
A dispute between the Bowling Green city and Warren County school systems is headed for mediation. The two school systems are at odds over a non-resident student agreement for next school year and beyond.
The county last year lowered the number of students by 86 who could transfer to city schools. The state wouldn't reimburse the city school system for students over that number, although they could still attend city schools by paying tuition.
On Monday night, the Warren County School Board rejected an agreement presented by the city school system that would have cut the number of transferring students by four each year for ten years. The county wanted to cut non-resident students by 50 each year for a decade.
Paducah attorney Rick Walters will mediate discussion between the two sides on February 8th. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has given the school systems until April 1st to reach an agreement.
Education Advocates are asking Kentucky college students to work harder and graduate within four years. It's a tradition few students now follow.
The statewide campaign '15 to Finish' urges full time college students to take at least 15 hours of credit each semester. The effort is a sponsored by the state’s colleges and universities and the Council on Postsecondary Education.
“Time is money when it comes to on time graduation," says CPE President Bob King. "Students by graduating on time can avoid the cost of extra semesters, incur less debt, and can get out into the workforce sooner to begin earning higher incomes."
Part of the effort's success will likely depend on the people who advise students. Betty Hampton directs Teacher Certification Student Services at the University of Louisville. She says delays can kill a student's dreams of a college degree.
“Life gets in the way and they never return to finish their degree or I see them 20 years later trying to finish that dream when it’s very complicated and they have families and mortgages and many other things that they need to take care of,” adds Hampton.
The Council on Postsecondary Education data show three quarters of full-time college students fall behind within two years.
Announcements pushing students into taking a full load of classes will run on radio and television throughout the spring. Kentucky campuses will also launch their own marketing efforts.
The president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is a one of three finalists for a job out west. CPE President Bob King is in the running for the University of Wisconsin System presidency.
According to its website, the University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of public higher education in the country with 13 four-year universities and an annual enrollment of more than 180,000 students.
A UW System news release says a Board of Regents selection committee plans to interview the three finalists on Monday and announce a hiring decision to the public next Thursday.
Dr. King has led the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education since 2009. Before then, he was Chancellor of the State University of New York.
A study finds the number of Kentucky high school students earning college credit through Advanced Placement classes has grown by 100 percent over the last five years. That’s double the national average, according to Joanne Lang with Advance Kentucky, a group that works with schools to encourage students to take advanced placement classes. She says AP classes give students a big head start.
“Just this week we released a study that shows the longitudinal impact – that is – how are kids doing in college,” said Lang. “Does AP participation in high school make a difference in how successful kids are in college? And we find it’s a resounding ‘Yes’.”
Lang says they’ve seen a boost in the number of low-income and minority students earning AP credit.
“It’s student populations that are traditionally underrepresented in advance placement – not only in Kentucky but nationwide,” said Lang. “That’s our target audience. Can we build many more of those students into the population of AP and rigorous success?”
Lang says Advance Kentucky strives to work with 10-20 new schools per year. For the past five years it’s been funded by the National Math and Science Initiative, the Kentucky Department of Education and several other agencies, both public and private.
A non-partisan economic policy group has released a report showing large gaps in per-student funding among school districts that approved tax increases this year.
A majority of Kentucky school boards approved the maximum 4 percent property tax increase to help fund public schools. The state hasn’t raised per-pupil funding for a number of years.
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy report shows that some districts like Southgate Independent Schools in northern Kentucky will receive an additional $200 more per student through property taxes. While other counties like Bath County, in eastern Kentucky, will only receive $24 more per student.
“One of the consequences of that is that we’re going to make the gap between rich and poor schools even larger," said Jason Bailey, Director of the Center for Economic Policy.
Several school boards have joined Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in calling on lawmakers to restore state education funding to pre-recession levels.