House could change funding for public colleges in the future by subsidizing students, Rollins says

03/09/2012 07:32 AM

House Education Committee Chairman Carl Rollins said he expects to hold hearings in the coming months about changing the model of how Kentucky funds its eight public universities and community college system.

Instead of writing one big check to the universities, lawmakers will examine the model of providing a higher percentage of financial aid and scholarships to low-income students, Rollins said on Pure Politics earlier this week.

“We may want to increase the amount that goes to financial aid (to students), and at the same time know that the tuition costs are going up but the students at the higher end who can afford to pay that can pay the full costs,” Rollins said (9:00).

Rollins said the state already subsidizes the education of all students who go to Kentucky’s public universities.

Meanwhile, Rollins said he hasn’t been satisfied with how well public university presidents have communicated cuts they’ve made.

Last fall, higher education officials and Rollins talked about performance-based funding for some of the universities’ state funding. They would have to show that they had met certain benchmarks for student retention and graduation rates, for instance.

That didn’t end up happening.

“What they were talking about was $25 million in new money. And we know there is no new money,” Rollins said (5:55). “What I was interested in doing was putting performance funding in place for at least a portion of their existing money … But all of a sudden they lost interest in that.”

Rollins also answered questions about whether he thought it was the right move to back off the proposal to make the University of Pikeville a public university and instead focus on increasing scholarships and financial aid to Eastern Kentucky students.


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