A program being used at WKU is providing a better idea of what can be done to prevent students from leaving school before completing their degree.
The MAP-Works system helps identify at-risk students who take a voluntary survey. Students who appear to be struggling receive direct intervention by WKU faculty and staff who direct the student to programs that can help with academic, financial, or health issues.
Lindsey Gilmore, with the WKU enrollment management office, says she assumed money problems would be the top reason why students drop out. But she says MAP-Works shows that’s not the case.
"Generally, what MAP-Works does is let us see about five top issues our students are facing per classification, and lack of financial confidence is always in the top five, but it’s never number one."
Gilmore says MAP-Works shows the biggest stressors for WKU students include homesickness, test anxiety, study habits, and low peer connections.
More than 5,400 WKU students have been contacted or met with in person this academic year about their survey results. Gilmore says the school is working to get more students to take the MAP-Works survey. A little over 27 percent of WKU students completed the survey last fall.
The President of WKU says he’s not counting on a big tuition increase to help offset a proposed cut in state funding for universities.
Dr. Gary Ransdell says he believes the Council on Postsecondary Education will cap the next round of potential tuition increases at about three percent.
That’s the increase the CPE set last April for in-state undergraduate students beginning this fall. President Ransdell told WKU Public Radio that it’s probably not realistic to expect anything more than that.
“Even if the CPE would allow a higher number, we’re not likely to go there,” Dr. Ransdell said during a break in Friday’s Board of Regents meeting. “So we’re going to have a modest tuition increase. Every year there’s going to be a tuition increase. It will simply cover our fixed-cost increases. These other items are going to have to be funded in some other way—probably through redirection of funds within our budget.”
The proposed budget announced by Governor Beshear this week includes a 2.5 percent spending reduction for state universities, which amounts to a loss of $1.8 million for WKU in fiscal year 2015.
Kentucky minimum wage increase?
A proposed increase in Kentucky’s minimum wage would add an estimated $419,000 to WKU's current payroll obligations. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring legislation that would boost the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour.
Gov. Bill Haslam said he wants to set Tennessee on a path toward boosting college graduation rates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.
Haslam has appointed Randy Boyd, chairman of wireless pet fence maker Radio Systems Corp., to help further that goal as his top higher education adviser.
Haslam said Boyd will join a working group tasked with finding ways to tackle what the governor called the "iron triangle" of affordability, access and quality issues for public colleges and universities in Tennessee.
The panel is made up the governor and the heads of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee systems.
A new honors college and international center at WKU and renovations to the University of Kentucky's football stadium and the University of Louisville are among the projects that will benefit from a bipartisan General Assembly agreement is allowing state universities to use their own ability to issue bonds for capital projects.
The soon-to-be approved projects were rejected during 2012 budget negotiations, but will be revived once lawmakers pass an authorization bill, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says.
The plan allows for $363-million in renovation and construction projects at six of Kentucky's eight state universities.
Stumbo says the projects were rejected because of election-year politics — because House lawmakers are elected in even-numbered years — and secondly because universities made unreasonable bonding requests.
And while many projects were rejected last year, the newly agreed upon ones are ready to start immediately.
“We had asked at the end of the last session to bring us a realistic list, what can you accomplish, what is shovel ready, what do you have the funding sources identified for, what can you accomplish in this next year,” Stumbo says.
The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority is recommending that high school seniors who plan to further their education at a college or technical school this fall fill out paperwork as soon as possible for financial aid.
The paperwork is known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and the information determines whether students qualify for aid in the form of federal and state grants and federal student loans.
Some colleges also award their own grants and scholarships based on information contained in the FAFSA.
The state agency recommends submitting the application online here, but the papers can be mailed if necessary.
The University of Kentucky Senate Council says UK President Eli Capilouto has created a budget crisis. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported the faculty group sent a memo to Capilouto on Thursday in which members said they recognized dwindling state financial support was part of a cutback, but said the current budget crisis is largely due to presidential priorities that include more than $50 million in new spending.
The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority will start eight children on the road to college savings by opening accounts for them with initial $1,000 deposits. The children are the winners of a summer reading program sponsored by the KHEAA and the state Department for Library and Archives.
More than 80 education leaders from across Kentucky are expected to attend a statewide summit next week to learn more about "best practices" in scheduling classroom space. The issue has become increasingly important as energy costs have risen and budgets have grown tighter. The summit will be held in Versailles, at KCTCS offices. Dr. Tony Honeycutt, the Provost of Somerset Community College, spoke with WKU Public Radio about the story.
A statewide meeting that will focus on ways to increase college completion rates will draw educators and administrators from across Kentucky next week. Higher education faculty and staff from public and private institutions will meet in Louisville to explore ways to close achievement gaps.