Our goal for the 2020 legislative session: Reinvestment in higher education

by President Box - January 21, 2020

It’s the beginning of the new year, and that means it’s also the beginning of the 2020 legislative session. This year, the legislature and the governor will craft a two-year budget for the state, which includes appropriations for higher education.

KCTCS has only two sources of revenue – tuition and state appropriations. For many years, the majority of our revenue was from state appropriations, but that has flipped because of years of cuts. We now receive the majority of our funding from tuition. This is one reason why reinvestment in higher ed is critical. We do not want students to pay more, and we cannot raise tuition enough to offset loss of state funding.

Three years ago, the general assembly passed performance-based funding, which means all higher ed institutions’ appropriations are based solely on how well they perform in specific areas, such as graduation rates. We are a big proponent of performance-based funding and have always measured our performance internally.

However, the pool of money for KCTCS and the eight public universities is not enough. So, working with the Council on Postsecondary Education, we are asking the state to increase the performance-based funding pool.

Because many of our campuses have aging buildings that need updates and upgraded equipment, we’re also asking for money to help us invest in our infrastructure. This could include things such as a new HVAC system or a new roof. This helps us offer a safer and more environmentally friendly space for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Our third request is for an increase in funding for the dual credit scholarship. This program is so popular that 35,000 Kentucky high school students are enrolled; 20,000 of them are KCTCS students. We can help even more high school students get this start on college if we have increased funding for the scholarship.

In the conversations we’re having with legislators, we feel there’s a good chance our requests will be met favorably by the General Assembly.

Governor Andy Beshear, in his State of the Commonwealth address, said he is embracing education, including higher ed, in his budget. We’ll be listening closely to his budget address on January 28 to see what he’s proposing.

You can see some of the accomplishments our 16 colleges have made by visiting our Better Lives for a Better Kentucky website. When you visit the site, I hope you’ll sign up to receive our updates and will join us is in asking legislators to support KCTCS.

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