KY Policy Blog

How Criminal Justice Reform Would Help Kentucky Kids

By Ashley Spalding
December 22, 2016

Criminal justice reform is important not just for adults but also for children, as highlighted in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). This link is especially relevant in Kentucky given the large share of children with a parent who has been incarcerated as well as opportunity to make needed changes given the momentum around criminal justice reform in our state. If fewer parents are incarcerated — particularly to serve very long sentences — their kids could see improvements in education, better health and more economic opportunities, the read more

Kentucky’s Performance Funding Design Should Work to Prevent Unintended Consequences Reported in Neighboring States

By Ashley Spalding
October 27, 2016

A new book by leading education policy researchers highlights some of the unintended consequences resulting from performance funding for higher education in three of Kentucky’s neighboring states — Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. As we’ve discussed previously, while at its best performance funding would promote successful outcomes for all students, in practice the models may result in low-income, low-skilled adults being left behind.

These lessons need to play a more prominent role in the development of a performance funding model for Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions, as the state’s appointed work group read more

New Data Shows Kentucky Has Third-Highest Student Loan Default Rate for Second Consecutive Year

By Ashley Spalding
September 28, 2016

Data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows  Kentuckians leaving college with student loan debt are among the most likely to default nationwide. The state’s new default rate of 15.5 percent is down from last year’s 16.3 percent, but Kentucky continues to have the 3rd-highest student loan default rate in the nation (behind New Mexico and West Virginia); the national default rate is 11.3 percent, down just slightly from 11.8 percent last year. This new default rate data underscores the college affordability problems in our state, particularly for read more

New State Report Shows Little to No Progress on Achievement Gaps

By Ashley Spalding
September 9, 2016

The Council on Postsecondary Education’s latest accountability report, which was released yesterday, shows Kentucky has continued to make little to no progress on some important higher education measures. While the state has increased the number of degrees and credentials earned each year since the baseline year, achievement gaps remain for low-income, underrepresented minority and academically underprepared students.

Here are some highlights from the report, which focuses on progress made in 2013-2014 toward meeting the goals set out in the state’s 2011-2015 Strategic Agenda for Postsecondary and Adult Education.

Increase in read more

Five Challenges Kentucky College Students Face in 2016

By Ashley Spalding
August 22, 2016

Kentucky college students face barriers and challenges as they begin a new academic year, some of which are worsening as a result of yet another round of state budget cuts to higher educational institutions.

Tuition Continues to Rise

Tuition at public universities and community colleges has been on the rise in Kentucky for years, largely as a result of state budget cuts. As we’ve described elsewhere, while Kentucky continues to cut funding for higher education most states are increasing funding. The most recent cuts have led to more tuition increases read more

Kentucky’s Schools Face Funding Challenges as Kids Head Back to School

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2016

As kids return to school across the Commonwealth, they face continued frozen state funding that amounts to a reduction once inflation is taken into account. The lack of state funding increases for schools threatens educational gains Kentucky has made in the past and is leading to a growing gap between rich and poor schools.

Kentucky’s cuts among the biggest

Last year’s report on K-12 funding by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked Kentucky 6th worst in the nation when it comes to cuts in per-student core formula funding read more

Infographic: Ky. Higher Ed Cuts Among Worst in the Country

By Kenny Colston
June 3, 2016

Kentucky is continuing its tumble to the bottom as one of the worst states in funding cuts to higher education, a new report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities shows.  Kentucky ranks 6th-worst among states in percentage cuts to higher education since 2008 and is in the bottom 10 among states in other funding categories, according to the report. This disinvestment once again threatens to limit students’ access to higher education, as well as our state’s opportunities for economic growth.

Web read more

Report Points Out Successes with Kentucky’s Preschool Program and Progress to be Made

By Dustin Pugel
May 25, 2016

Kentucky has made strides over the last few decades to expand access to quality public preschool. The recent State of Preschool 2015 report points out where Kentucky has made progress as well as the huge need that remains unfilled, while taking note of concerning recent trends in enrollment.

Kentucky’s comparisons against other states’ preschool programs vary greatly.

Kentucky ranked 25th in the report in state spending per child enrolled, and 8th in total spending per child enrolled (which includes a time-limited federal grant). The state was tied, however, for the read more

Five Reasons Cutting Higher Education Hurts Low-Income and Minority Kentuckians

By Ashley Spalding
May 24, 2016

Higher education funding issues in Kentucky have been in the news a lot recently — for ranking among the worst in the country for per-student cuts in a new report; with the public universities and community colleges beginning to implement layoffs, unpaid furloughs and hiring freezes; and as the process of raising tuition for the 2016-2017 school year is nearly finalized. While many of these conversations focus on the impact of cuts on the institutions themselves, we should not lose sight of how these budget cuts hurt all Kentuckians seeking read more

Governor Vetoes Need-Based Scholarships for Thousands of Students

By Jason Bailey
April 28, 2016

Governor Bevin vetoed $40.3 million in funding for need-based college scholarships contained in House Bill 10, meaning denied aid for nearly 22,000 low-income students that had been awarded by the General Assembly. This is at the same time the budget cuts funding for higher education by 4.5 percent, leading to tuition hikes at the public universities and community colleges.

The governor’s vetoes also delay the start of the Work Ready Scholarship, a program designed to help some traditional-age students pursue associate’s degrees, by one year from 2017 to 2018. That read more