U of Pikeville bill would allow for it to get general funds down the road, Rep. Combs says

02/02/2012 08:02 AM

The University of Pikeville will eventually move from getting coal-severance tax money to receiving general funds like other public universities under the proposal that is pending in the state House, one of the bill’s author’s said.

Rep. Leslie Combs, a Pikeville Democrat and the bill’s cosponsor, said the first goal of having the university join the state system is to lower tuition from about $17,000-a-year to somewhere around $6,000 to $7,000. That would allow the university to expand its enrollment from about 1,100 to 2,000 almost immediately, she said.

A former administrator at the university — formerly known as Pikeville College — Combs said the bill allows the University of Pikeville to eventually get general funds from the state not just use multi-county coal severance tax money. Initially, lawmakers billed the proposal as not taking money away from the existing eight public universities but instead relying on about $13 million a year in unallocated multi-county coal severance tax funds.

“What we’re trying to do is make the investment in ourselves,” Combs said. “Yes, at some point in the future, once we’ve used that money and we’ve gotten established and are financially sound, then yes, at some point in time we would expect to be accommodated by the state general fund.”

Watch the interview:

Some public university presidents, such as Morehead State University’s Wayne Andrews, have questioned the need for a ninth public university, especially as state funding has been pared back to 2004-2005 levels.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.