Higher Ed Cuts Keep Kentucky Among Worst in Nation

By Kenny Colston
August 23, 2017

An annual report on higher education cuts across the U.S. shows Kentucky’s continued budget reductions are keeping us among the bottom 10 states when it comes to per-student funding cuts to our public universities and community colleges.

The report, from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shows Kentucky in the bottom 10 states in cuts since 2008 — a decline of 26.4 percent, or $2,832, per student, once inflation is taken into account. Kentucky is also one of 13 states that continued to cut higher education funding between 2016 and 2017.

The results are alarming, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Communications Director Kenny Colston said.

“This report shows that as the majority of states are re-investing in their futures by committing to funding higher education, Kentucky continues to move in the wrong direction,” Colston said. “Every cut in state funding puts pressure on students by resulting in rising tuition costs – which prices low-income students out of opportunities and forces thousands of others into unmanageable student loan debt.”

The report directly links cuts in state funding to rising tuition costs and student loan debt across the U.S.

In order to stop Kentucky’s higher education funding slide, lawmakers should clean up the tax code by ending some of the billions of dollars in tax breaks that drain revenue so we have the resources to better invest, Colston said.

“With another budget session upcoming in January, it’s time for lawmakers to make the decision to close tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthy and corporations so we can re-invest that revenue into our communities and our future,” he said.