KY Policy Blog

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

Diverting Lottery Revenues Makes College Less Affordable For Those Who Need It Most

By Jason Bailey
February 25, 2014

The state is increasingly diverting lottery revenues from financial aid programs to help shore up the budget, as described in a Lexington Herald-Leader story today. Those dollars are coming from need-based financial aid programs at the same time budget cuts are driving up tuition.

By law, all but $3 million of lottery revenue goes to college financial aid programs (the $3 million is for literacy efforts). But since 2009, the state has diverted lottery revenues to fill in holes in the state budget. The amount diverted was $11 million the read more

New Report Shows Continued Higher Education Gaps for Disadvantaged Students Alongside Funding Cuts

By Ashley Spalding
December 20, 2013

The state’s most recent accountability report for higher education—released this week—shows some progress in many areas but big challenges in college affordability and in addressing postsecondary degree attainment gaps for low-income and underrepresented minority students.

The Council on Postsecondary Education’s annual report, “Stronger by Degrees: A Strategic Agenda for Kentucky Postsecondary and Adult Education, 2011-2015,” tracks Kentucky’s progress in meeting higher education targets the state has set for 2015. Progress is measured according to 27 indicators, which fall into four categories: college readiness; student success; research, economic and community development; read more

Budget Cuts Further Widen Education Funding Gaps

By Jason Bailey
October 21, 2013

Cuts to state and federal funding for education are leading to greater reliance on local revenue sources and exacerbating funding inequity between school districts, as described in a Louisville Courier-Journal story today.

Less reliance on state and federal money means a growing gap in resources due to the way in which schools are funded. Each district relies on a mix of federal, state and local dollars. For Kentucky as a whole, 46 percent of school funding is from the state, 39 percent is from local revenue and 14 percent from read more

Kentucky Among States that Have Substantially Cut Funding for Schools

By Jason Bailey
September 12, 2013

K-12 funding infographic 2013

Kentucky ranks fourteenth worst in the country in the depth of cuts to school funding since the start of the recession, and is one of fifteen states that have continued to cut K-12 funding in the current year, according to a new report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. These damaging cuts slow the recovery and will make Kentucky less prosperous in the future.

The report shows that Kentucky has cut its per-pupil core funding for K-12 schools by 9.9 percent since 2008 after adjusting for read more

Investing in Education Will Build a Stronger State Economy

By Jason Bailey
August 22, 2013

The best way for Kentucky to grow its economy is by investing in a well-educated workforce, according to a new paper from the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a project of the Economic Policy Institute.

In A Well Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity, Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and Peter Fisher, research director at the Iowa Policy Project, find a strong link between the educational attainment of state workforces and both productivity and median wages. Expanding access to high quality education will read more

Kentucky Program Led the Way in Helping Low-Income Adults Get Higher Education, but Barriers Growing

By Jason Bailey
June 26, 2013

Kentucky adopted innovative policies beginning in the late 1990s to help low-income adults attend community college while receiving the supports they need to succeed in school. But shrinking public dollars and increasingly strict federal rules are making it harder to scale those innovations up.

Helping More Kentuckians Get the Skills They Need

Congress passed welfare reform in 1996, which eliminated Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)—a program that provided cash assistance to low-income families—and replaced it with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is a block grant program read more