Rep. Meeks is among those laid off at of UofL, laments loss of quality and rising tuition

06/26/2012 11:40 AM

Rep. Reginald Meeks said his colleagues in the General Assembly need to be more aware of the effects state funding cuts to universities have had on students, their families and the families of employees that the public colleges have laid off.

Over the last month, the University of Kentucky has laid off employees. And Meeks, a Louisville Democrat, said he has seen his job with the University of Louisville eliminated.

“In all honesty … I am a victim of layoffs from the University of Louisville,” he said. (10:00). Meeks served as director of outreach programs at UofL until last week.

Meeks also reacted to the sharp increase in tuition dollars at public universites and colleges. Tuition at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has doubled while the tuition rates for four year universities have increase three and four fold. (6:30-8:00 of the interview.)

“It should put Kentucky families on notice that they must begin to take education seriously early on,” he said, adding that it’s too costly for students and the state for students to take remedial costs.

And it’s time for Kentucky’s public universities to offer more three-year degree programs to make college more affordable for students, he said. (8:30)

Meeks, who sponsored legislation to better regulate for-profit colleges, said the greatest frustration from former students of for-profit colleges is that they pay for degrees in certain programs that aren’t recognized by potential employers in those fields. (3:00)

“I wish I could sit here and tell you it’s going to be the answer. I don’t think it will be,” Meeks said (3:50). He said he fears the for-profit colleges successfully lobbied to water down the bill, for instance, by resisting moving the oversight to the Council on Postsecondary Education that oversees public and independent colleges.

Meeks’ for-profit college bill passed into law and creates an oversight council that includes the commissioner of education, community members and representatives from the colleges. It requires that board to raise money for the for-profit college to stock a $500,000 fund to provide financial relief to students.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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