Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education and university presidents are working to craft proposed changes to the state’s higher education funding formula.
The CPE and school leaders can’t change the funding formula on their own. Such a move would have to be approved by state lawmakers. But university and CPE leaders meet on a monthly basis, and a major topic of discussion recently has been a proposal to include “performance funding.”
Such a plan could potentially reward schools based on factors such as enrollment levels, graduation rates, or efforts in closing achievement gaps. Any effort at instituting performance funding, however, is likely contingent on lawmakers increasing the overall amount of higher education funding.
The Courier-Journal reports University of Louisville President James Ramsey sent a letter to the CPE last month saying he would only support performance-based funding if it came with new money.
Centre College in Danville is unveiling a new scholarship program endowed by the largest single gift ever given to the school.
J. David and Marlene Grissom of Louisville have agreed to fund a four-year, full tuition scholarship that will go to ten first-generation college students each year beginning in the fall of 2015. J. David Grissom is a Centre graduate who served as chairman of the school’s board of trustees for two decades.
The total amount of the gift isn’t being made public, but Centre officials say it’s the largest ever received in the Danville school’s 195 year history.
Centre’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Bob Nesmith, says the school is already recruiting the first class of Grissom Scholars.
The Commonwealth is seeing gains and losses in its race to reach top tier national status in key areas of education. In 2008, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence challenged the state to reach the top 20 by the year 2020.
The committee Wednesday released an update on the state's progress. According to the report, Kentucky is on track to meet the goal in areas like fourth and eighth grade reading, teacher salaries, and Advanced Placement credits. However, the state has lost ground in areas including eighth grade math and the share of higher education costs to families.
Prichard Committee Director Stu Silberman says it's well past time to act on tax reform and put more state resources into education.
"You know we're making good progress," Silberman said. "I think we're accountable for the dollars that are being spent and when we are making good progress. That's the time to say, hey look we recognize that, we need to step in here and really help."
With the proper state investment, Silberman says six years from now, Kentucky could crack the top 10 in education nationally.
WKU President Gary Ransdell says it’s every employee’s job to help the school retain as many students as possible.
Addressing faculty and staff at Friday morning’s convocation at Van Meter Hall, Dr.Ransdell cited examples of academic progress, including an increase in the average ACT score of first-time baccalaureate students.
But he added that the school is still allowing too many students to leave campus without finishing their degrees.
“We are graduating just over 50 percent of our students in six years and we are still losing 25 percent of each freshman class within one year of their initial enrollment. So, for our students’ sake—if not for our own financial stability—please become part of the solution to keeping our students at WKU until they graduate.”
The WKU President said he was concerned about the value of the school’s remedial courses that many freshmen take. Ransdell added he’s worried the school is losing students who return home after their first semester with only three to six credit hours.
The overwhelming majority of in-state students who get bachelor’s degrees from Kentucky’s public universities are remaining in the commonwealth.
A new report from the Center for Education and Workforce Statistics shows over 80 percent of Kentucky students who got a four-year degree from a state-funded school were working in the commonwealth a year later. On the other hand, only 30 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from Kentucky’s undergraduate programs stay in the commonwealth to work.
The report also gives a school-by-school breakdown of how many graduates stay in Kentucky versus those who leave the state, as well as a comparison of the average wages of each school’s degree holders.
You can see what the report had to say about the employment outcomes of WKU graduates here.
Charles McGrew, the executive director of the group behind the report, said schools can use the information to get a better idea of where their graduates are, and how they are doing.
“I think it’s difficult for faculty to know where all of their students go. Sometimes colleges do alumni surveys, but they may not be able to catch many of their alumni after the fact. So they don’t necessarily know how well they’re doing in the workforce, or possibly how long it takes to find a job, or whether they go on to graduate school,” McGrew told WKU Public Radio.
Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 8:18 am
The price of a college education is soaring in America; so is the amount of student loan debt. President Obama has proposed regulations that would cap student loan payments at 10 percent of a graduate's income, and according to the latest Labor Department data, about a third of recent college graduates are either underemployed or jobless.
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.