KY Policy Blog

President’s Community College Proposal Could Help Make Higher Education Accessible for More Kentuckians

By Ashley Spalding
January 20, 2015

The President’s proposal to cover two years of community college tuition for students would help thousands of Kentuckians earn college degrees and take advantage of the resulting job opportunities. And unlike much of the state’s financial aid—as well as Tennessee’s free community college program—the proposal would benefit low-income adults, an important population needing greater access to higher education.

The proposed program would provide funding for three-quarters of the average cost of community college, with participating states picking up the remaining tuition costs. The federal funds for the program would come read more

New Report Argues for Funding Proven Strategies to Enhance K-12 Student Achievement

By Ashley Spalding
December 11, 2014

Kentucky K-12 schools may be getting by with current levels of funding—which are among the nation’s deepest per-student cuts to education since the recession—but in order to realize the state’s goals, to graduate students college and career ready, additional investments are needed. Economically disadvantaged students in particular are falling behind, which is exacerbated by schools in poorer areas being less able to make up for state and federal budget cuts by raising local revenues. According to a new report by the Council for Better Education (CBE), “Adequacy for Excellence in read more

As Costs Rise, Disadvantaged Students Falling Behind in Higher Education in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
November 10, 2014

A new report from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education shows that the state is not on track to meet several critical higher education goals it set for itself a few years ago. Most concerning of all is the lack of progress in graduation rates for low-income, underprepared and underrepresented minority students, with rising costs likely a big factor.

In 2010-2011, the state set targets for 2013-2014 as part of a broader plan for higher education in Kentucky. The state has shown improvement on numerous metrics, but low-income, underprepared and read more

Student Loan Default Rates Drop Nationally but Not in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
September 25, 2014

As described in a WFPL article published today, Kentucky’s federal student loan default rate is now the 4th- highest among the states. Also, while new data shows some improvement in the national student loan default rate, Kentucky’s rate did not improve.

According to the new federal Department of Education data, the national three-year student loan default rate is 13.7 percent while in Kentucky it is 17.5 percent. The national student loan default rate declined this year, down from 14.7 percent last year. But Kentucky’s rate last year was 17.3 percent, read more

Increasing Accountability of For-Profit Colleges

By Ashley Spalding
August 20, 2014

In recent years, there has been a lot of debate over the value and role of for-profit colleges. Enrollment at these schools across the country has grown rapidly, but many for-profits have come under scrutiny for poor student outcomes—including alumni having greater debt and lower employment rates than those who attended non-profit schools—as well as deceptive marketing practices. Meanwhile many of these for-profit colleges receive large amounts of federal and state financial aid. Some states are working to require greater accountability from for-profits—including by disqualifying schools with very high student read more

Kentucky Should Get Involved In Debate About New College Affordability Strategies

By Ashley Spalding
July 22, 2014

While recent discussion of the student debt crisis has focused largely on federal proposals to make student loan payments easier to manage, several states (not to mention Starbucks) are experimenting with new strategies as well. Given Kentucky’s growing college affordability challenges, the state should get involved in this conversation while keeping in mind the specific shortcomings of particular ideas.

Driven in part by dramatic increases in tuition rates across the nation, cumulative student loan debt in the U.S. has reached $1.2 trillion and continues to grow. These trends are largely read more

Lessening Burden of Student Loans One Step of Many Toward Greater College Affordability

By Ashley Spalding
June 11, 2014

There is a lot of focus this week on what can be done to address the student loan debt crisis—with cumulative U. S. student loan debt having reached $1.2 trillion and continuing to grow. On Monday President Obama signed an executive order that will lower student loan payments for up to five million additional students and forgive their loan balances after 20 years of repayment. And the Senate is set to consider a bill to allow graduates with student loan interest rates much higher than those currently available to refinance read more

Growing Tuition Tax Credit Denies Students in Poverty Even As Need-Based College Aid is Underfunded

By Ashley Spalding
May 21, 2014

Kentucky’s recently released biennial tax expenditure report, which documents state spending through provisions in the tax code, shows a growing amount of money going to a program called the Postsecondary Education Tuition Tax Credit. This may seem like a positive trend that could increase college affordability for more Kentuckians in the context of rising tuition. But eligibility requirements for the credit that exclude people below the poverty line mean the program may just worsen inequality in access to higher education, especially combined with the underfunding of state need-based financial aid. read more

New Budget Will Worsen Kentucky’s College Affordability Problem

By Ashley Spalding
April 3, 2014

The budget passed by the General Assembly on Monday does not contain good news for higher education students in Kentucky. The 1.5 percent cuts to the state’s public universities and community colleges, new fee for community college students, and only a tiny boost to state need-based financial aid programs mean that the college affordability problem in Kentucky will continue to grow.

As described in a previous post, the cost of attending college in Kentucky has grown and is now relatively high compared to other states, and the new budget will read more

Budget Cuts Threaten Kentucky’s Ability to Sustain and Grow Progress in Adult Education

By Ashley Spalding
March 4, 2014

Each year Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE) helps thousands of Kentuckians across the state prepare to take the GED, improve literacy and increase English as a second language skills. These services have made important contributions to Kentucky’s gains in educational attainment. But a proposed 5 percent cut in the governor’s budget on top of six previous years of budget cuts could limit further progress.

In 2012-2013, nearly 38,000 Kentuckians participated in adult education. Services are free for those who qualify (although there is a fee associated with taking the GED test) read more