Ky. college tuition and fees rise 177% in 12 years, but Senator says academic results haven't kept up

12/11/2013 05:46 PM

College tuition and fees in Kentucky has gone up by nearly 177 percent but without a corresponding increase in the quality of education, said Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel pointing to a new study released Wednesday.

The legislative program review and investigations committee had requested the review, which was conducted by legislative staff over the last year.

Public colleges and universities have increased tuition as state funding has backslid during the recession to 2005-06 levels for most of Kentucky’s universities. But, as the report notes, state funding for universities is 1 percent higher now than it was a decade ago.

At the same time, the LRC’s study outlined Kentucky’s public and private 4-year and 2-year colleges’ performances, particularly in graduation rates.

For instance, the rate of students graduating within six years remained relatively “stable” since 2006, the study found, while four-year graduation rates “remain low.” It specifically cited the University of Kentucky for being tied with the University of Arizona as having the lowest four-year graduation rate at 32 percent.

“One thing we definitely did not find was because of an increase in graduation rates, because of an increase in quality of instruction or any factor that really affects the academic experience,” McDaniel said.

While changes likely won’t come from Frankfort, McDaniel said universities should come to the table to “solve the problem.”

McDaniel said the study should be a jumping off point to start the dialogue with the universities and colleges in the state, and that states across the nation are facing a similar struggle. However, McDaniel said if Kentucky can find a solution first we will reap the benefits.

The Council on Postsecondary Education is proposing with its budget request a provision for performance based funding in which public colleges and universities would divvy up an extra pot of state funds based on how well they do at graduating their students.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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