KY Policy Blog

Fact Sheet: Need-Based Financial Aid Dollars Being Diverted to General Fund

By Dustin Pugel
February 23, 2016

For years millions of scholarship dollars have been diverted away from Kentucky’s need-based financial aid programs to the General Fund.

Studies have shown that need-based financial aid: • Increases college enrollment among low- and moderate-income students. • Increases college persistence and the number of credits earned.

Kentucky has two need-based financial aid programs funded by the lottery. According to state law, lottery funding should be split 3 ways: •  Literacy programs receive $3 million off the top. •  The merit-based scholarship, the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), receives the next read more

Cuts to Community Colleges Mean Disinvestment in Kentucky’s Primary Workforce Development Source

By Ashley Spalding
February 22, 2016

Governor Bevin’s interest in investing in workforce development is a notable priority. However, the approach outlined in his budget proposal decreases investment in the state’s primary site of workforce development: its community colleges.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is by far the state’s largest workforce development program. In 2015 the state budgeted $185.9 million for academic programs and employer services and an additional $5.6 million specifically for workforce development and training at KCTCS, according to the Legislative Research Commission’s Office of Budget Review. That far exceeds spending read more

Infographic: Kentucky Higher Education Cuts Among Worst in Country

By Kenny Colston
February 18, 2016

Even as most states have begun to restore funding for higher education after cuts during the recession, Kentucky has continued to reduce funding as outlined a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Continued cuts will make it harder for the state to grow and attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.  To reverse these disturbing trends, Kentucky needs to make higher education a greater priority. In order to make sure the Commonwealth has enough money to fund higher education adequately, lawmakers need to commit to revenue-raising read more

Tuition Freeze Is Not Proper Answer to College Affordability Problem Given Large, Continuous Budget Cuts

By Ashley Spalding
February 17, 2016

With the steep increases in tuition at Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges in recent years, a state mandated tuition freeze as proposed in SB 75 might sound like a good idea. But even with past tuition increases, the state’s higher education institutions are facing significant funding shortfalls once the growth in fixed costs like health insurance and utilities, on top of General Fund cuts, are taken into consideration.

Even while additional state cuts to higher education are being proposed, proponents of a tuition freeze assert that Kentucky’s public universities read more

Governor’s Budget Proposal Would Worsen College Affordability

By Dustin Pugel
February 11, 2016

Governor Bevin’s budget proposal would not improve — and would even worsen — the state’s college affordability problems. Deep budget cuts to public universities and community colleges are expected to result in more tuition increases, and funding for need-based scholarships remains basically flat while lottery money intended for these scholarships is diverted to other priorities.

Unless greater investments are made in higher education than what has been proposed, the opportunity to go to college and complete a degree will continue slipping farther and farther away for many Kentuckians.

While the read more

Diversion of Lottery Funds Undermines College Affordability

By Dustin Pugel
January 6, 2016

According to law, 55 percent of lottery profits are supposed to pay for need-based scholarships (after $3 million is given to literacy programs). For years, though, millions of scholarship dollars have been diverted away from the College Access Program and the Kentucky Tuition Grant toward other priorities. The problem has worsened since 2014, and has received media attention. Without action in this year’s session, funds will likely continue to be taken from students who need them the most.


KY Medicaid infographic read more

Even Big Cuts to New Teachers’ Pensions Would Do Little to Address System’s Funding Challenge

By Jason Bailey
October 27, 2015

Even if the state were to massively cut pension benefits for new teachers, it wouldn’t result in meaningful savings to the teachers’ retirement system over the 30 year period needed to pay down its unfunded liability, according to information provided to the system’s funding work group.

Thus the state could deeply reduce retirement security for new teachers through benefit cuts — and drive up the challenge of attracting and retaining good teachers — without making a real dent in the serious financial problem now facing Kentucky. Cuts to new teachers’ read more

New Data Shows Kentuckians with Third-Highest Student Loan Default Rate Among States

By Ashley Spalding
September 30, 2015

New data shows that Kentuckians leaving college with student loan debt have among the highest default rates in the country, a problem stemming in part from the rising cost of college due to declining state and federal funding.

Data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows the rate of default among student loan borrowers in Kentucky is now 16.3 percent. This makes Kentucky’s three-year student loan default rate the third highest in the nation — surpassed only by New Mexico’s (20 percent) and West Virginia’s (18.2 percent). The read more

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