KY Policy Blog

Report Shows Kentucky’s Preschool and Kindergarten Programs Effective, Need Greater Investment

By Ashley Spalding
October 16, 2017

High quality early childhood education has long been understood to be an important investment with a significant return. While our state has done more in recent years to expand access to preschool and full-day kindergarten, a new report from the state Legislative Research Commission shows there is real need for additional investments.

Preschool

The report describes how effective our state’s preschool program is at preparing children for kindergarten — especially those from low-income households or who have disabilities. However, while full-day preschool is shown to be most effective just 40 read more

Kentucky Still Among the Worst for Student Loan Default

By Ashley Spalding
September 28, 2017

Kentucky again ranks among the worst states for rates of student loan default, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Education. This latest data is yet another indicator Kentucky students have difficulty paying for college — largely due to public disinvestment in higher education that has a particularly damaging impact on low-income students and students of color.

Kentucky’s 3-year student loan default rate is now 14 percent, which is the 9th worst in the nation. Although this is an improvement over last year’s default rate of 15.5 read more

Pell Grant Cuts Would Reduce College Access and Economic Opportunity in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
August 25, 2017

The recent U.S. House budget resolution would slash the Pell Grant program by $75 billion over the next decade, cutting the maximum grant by $1,060 or 18 percent. Pell Grants help expand college access and economic opportunity in Kentucky, and cuts to the program would be incredibly harmful.

Pell Increases College Access in Kentucky

Pell provides need-based grants to undergraduate students who haven’t yet earned a bachelor’s degree; unlike loans, students don’t need to repay them. For the 2017-2018 school year the maximum amount for a Pell Grant is $5,920. read more

Five Things to Keep in Mind as College Students Head Back to School

By Ashley Spalding
August 23, 2017

In colleges across Kentucky, students are beginning their fall semester — some for the first time, some returning to complete a degree. Here are five things about higher education in our state to keep in mind as the new school year begins.

State budget cuts have continued

Kentucky ranks in the bottom 10 states in the nation for per-student higher education funding cuts since 2008, according to a recently released report. We are also 1 of 13 states that continued to cut over the past school year, while the majority read more

School Funding Challenges Remain as Students Return to Classrooms

By Ashley Spalding
August 16, 2017

The beginning of a new school year is often a time of excitement for kids, parents and educators. But it’s also a time state funding cuts and freezes to K-12 education may create difficulties for some school districts as they make decisions about what they can and cannot afford.

Kentucky’s K-12 funding cuts among the deepest

In last year’s report on K-12 funding by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Kentucky continued its decline in national education funding rankings, sliding to third worst in the nation based on cuts read more

Too Many Community College Students Are Hungry or Homeless

By Celena Snoddy
August 10, 2017

While community college is typically thought of as an affordable option for earning a degree, a recent report shows this is often not the case. Too many community college students do not have consistent access to food or stable housing, which makes it difficult for them to be academically successful. These issues likely contribute to Kentucky’s low community college graduation rates as well as achievement gaps for low-income and underrepresented minority students.

The report describes findings from a survey of basic needs insecurity (i.e. food and housing) among community college read more

How Cuts to Federal Non-Defense Discretionary Funding Would Impact Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2017

When Congress returns from its August break, the House is expected to vote on their plan for 2018 appropriations that includes cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding, as well as deep cuts to entitlement programs. The proposed cuts to NDD programs would harm our state’s ability to improve education, support children and families, make our communities safer and healthier and develop the workforce and economy.

As noted previously, the proposed House appropriations for NDD programs would be 17 percent below what was appropriated in 2010 after adjusting for inflation and read more

Continuing General Fund Erosion Is More Evidence of the Need to Clean Up Tax Code

By Anna Baumann
August 2, 2017

As a share of the economy, Kentucky’s General Fund is worse off today than before the last positive effort to clean up the tax code under the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) took effect – 5.9 percent in 2017 compared to 6.4 percent in 1990 (see graph below). Due to the growing number and size of tax breaks in Kentucky’s tax code, General Fund revenue eroded relative to the economy for two decades after KERA and has largely stagnated since 2010. In fact, weak revenue growth in 2017 put the read more

Tuition Increase Ceilings Announced

By Ashley Spalding
March 31, 2017

Today the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) announced the maximum in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fee increases the state’s public universities and community colleges will be allowed to charge students in the coming year. These tuition caps range from zero at the University of Louisville (at their request) to five percent at four of the state’s comprehensive institutions. In the coming months, the higher education institutions will decide how much to increase tuition and fees within these limits. While college affordability is widely understood to be a serious challenge in read more

Charter School Legislation Passes, But Questions and Concerns Remain About Funding

By Pam Thomas
March 17, 2017

The Kentucky General Assembly gave final approval to charter schools in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session after heated and lengthy debate in both chambers. The approval came in two parts, with the operating provisions included in House Bill 520 and the funding provisions in House Bill 471. The funding provisions in HB 471 raise new questions about how the funding for charter schools would actually work and many of the concerns we previously expressed continue as charter schools will inevitably divert funding away from our state’s existing read more