KY Policy Blog

The State of Working Kentucky 2012: Education

By Ashley Spalding
December 19, 2012

There is no question that greater levels of education are associated with higher wages and employment rates in Kentucky, and employment has been declining among those with less than a college degree in recent years. However, median wages have been stagnant for Kentuckians at all education levels over the last ten years—suggesting that our problems with job quality are more complex than just a skills gap.

Kentucky has seen wage stagnation across the board, but for those with some college or a high school degree, the trend is not new. read more

Kentucky Falls Short in Closing Higher Education Gaps

By Sean Litteral
October 31, 2012

Kentucky still has a long way to go to meet the ambitious educational attainment goals set by the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997. In a recent report by the Council on Postsecondary Education, which details the state’s progress toward meeting these goals in 2010-2011, Kentucky fell short in several indicators of the gaps between disadvantaged and other students.

The report examines the progress that has been made toward the state’s education goals for 2020 in 31 performance targets in four priority areas: college readiness; student success; research, economic and read more

Transitioning Adults to Postsecondary Education Crucial to Meeting Goals

By Ashley Spalding
September 24, 2012

Postsecondary education is increasingly recognized as an important means of improving the economy and increasing the financial well-being of individuals and families. But given Kentucky’s serious educational challenges, the state must start early in the education pipeline—including with a major focus on efforts that help adults obtain basic education, make the transition to higher education and then acquire a credential or degree.

Efforts to increase the percentage of adult education students who are transitioning to college are especially important given the low levels of education among adults in Kentucky, the read more

Higher Education Helped in the Recession, but Doesn’t Guarantee a Good Job in Recovery

By Sean Litteral
September 13, 2012

Those with higher education fared better in the recession and are more likely to obtain the new jobs being created in the recovery. However, those new jobs tend to pay lower wages than the jobs that were eliminated during the downturn.

Thus while more education can help shield families from recession, the path to greater family economic security must also include policies that spur the creation of more good quality jobs.

A report released last month by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute highlights how the recession impacted those with different read more

State Cuts to Education Continue to Deepen

By Ashley Spalding
September 5, 2012

Kentucky is one of 35 states in which inflation-adjusted per student state funding for K-12 education is lower this school year than it was in 2008, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The report calculates that Kentucky’s core state funding for local schools has declined by 8.5 percent, or $399 per student, between 2008 and 2013. 26 states—including Kentucky—have deepened the already steep cuts to education over the last year. School funding per student in Kentucky decreased by 1.4 percent between fiscal years read more

Study Calls for New Approach to State Financial Aid

By Ashley Spalding
May 16, 2012

A new report by the Brookings Institution makes the case for overhauling state financial aid grant programs to focus on “students whose chances of enrolling and succeeding in college will be most improved by the receipt of state support.” Brookings suggests that financial aid should target students with the greatest financial need—particularly those from low- and moderate-income families—while also tying that aid to advancement toward a college degree.

Yet in Kentucky, the report notes, only 49 percent of state aid is based on financial need, compared to 73 percent of read more

Kentucky’s Adult Education Challenge

By Jason Bailey
April 30, 2012

Education cannot solve all of our economic problems, as the many college-educated young people now unemployed and underemployed can attest. But low levels of educational attainment are an important reason for Kentucky’s economic challenges. A more skilled and educated citizenry is critical to building a Kentucky economy and society that can flourish.

While policy discussions of education often focus on children and traditional-age college students, Kentucky adults ages 25-54 face severe gaps in college attainment that impede state progress and family well-being. Those adults will be participating in the workforce read more

Budget Makes Education Goals Harder to Achieve with Cuts to Per-Student Funding

By Ashley Spalding
April 19, 2012

Kentucky has set high goals and taken great strides in improving educational achievement and degree attainment rates. However, the 2013-2014 state budget will make progress difficult over the next two years given its cuts in per-student funding for both P-12 and higher education.

Education Goals Budget Brief read more

The Benefits of Expanded Pre-School

By Jason Bailey
March 28, 2012

In its final days of negotiating a new budget, a sticking point between the House and the Senate is whether to include new dollars for the expansion of pre-school. The governor had proposed $15 million in 2014 for 4,400 new preschool slots for four year-olds, and the House put in $7.5 million for half that many openings. However, the Senate included no new money for pre-school.

Pre-school is an effective long-term economic development strategy. Economist Timothy Bartik examined the economic impact of universal pre-school programs and found that every $1 read more

Budget Would Further Reduce College Affordability

By Jason Bailey
January 25, 2012

Three stacks of books and large dollar stack.The barriers to affordable higher education–especially for low-income Kentuckians–will continue to grow under a budget that cuts funding to postsecondary institutions and limits need-based financial aid.

Budget Would Further Reduce College Affordability

The Governor’s budget includes cuts of 6.4 percent to higher education institutions. On top of previous cuts and because of rising enrollment, per student General Fund dollars for higher education institutions would be an estimated 22 percent lower next year than in 2008 under the plan (see figure below). More cuts would inevitably lead to tuition hikes on read more