Release Date: July 18, 2005
Contact: Sue Patrick
Phone: 502-573-1555, ext. 308
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – An interim college affordability study finds that Kentucky postsecondary education remains reasonably affordable for most state students. The study analyzed the actual net price students and their families paid to go to college in Kentucky last fall after factoring out grants, scholarships and student loans from tuition charges.
The study, commissioned by the Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, was presented at the Council’s Affordability Policy Group meeting earlier today. A final report is due in September.
Council President Tom Layzell said, “The results of the affordability study will guide the development of tuition and financial aid policies in the future.”
The study identified three components of affordability, including the student’s and family’s ability to pay, tuition and other costs associated with attending college, and the amount of financial aid available to students.
According to the report, grant aid is generally distributed equitably across all income groups. The net prices paid by Kentucky students increase with income and the net prices increase with higher costs of attendance.
While the study concludes that Kentucky remains affordable on average, it also identified two gaps in affordability. Independent students (those not dependent on families for financial support) in the lowest income group pay the highest net price, and dependent students in the lowest income group at four-year public or private institutions are at the margins of affordability.
In other findings, the independent study found that most Kentucky students do not pay the “sticker price” or published price of college and Kentucky students are also on par with national rates in their use of loans and the amount borrowed.
The study was limited to undergraduate Kentucky students enrolled in the fall of 2004 who filled out a FASFA (Free Application for Student Financial Aid).
Following the Affordability Policy Group meeting, the Council on Postsecondary met and approved a strategic plan that will guide the system of postsecondary education for the next five years.
The plan marshals the resources of the postsecondary education system to accomplish the goals of the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 (House Bill 1). The components of the plan consist of a public agenda, statewide key indicators which measure the progress of the system, and campus action plans.
House Bill 1 requires the Council to review the public agenda every four years. The review began in early 2004 with an analysis of demographic, economic and education data from 1997 to present. Nine regional forums and a series of meetings with state policy, civic, and business leaders were conducted to find out where the system can improve.
In other business, the Council:
- Approved a recommendation to conduct a statewide diversity study to determine Kentucky’s compelling interest in engaging in diversity planning. The study will provide the opportunity for Kentucky to improve its policy to ensure that it fully advances its educational mission and diversity goals.
- Heard a report on University of Kentucky’s Top 20 Business Plan from UK President Lee Todd. The plan, which will be finalized in November, will analyze UK’s current competitive position in four areas—research, faculty recognition, graduate education, and undergraduate education. It will also identify strategies to close the gaps, determine sources and amount of funds required to implement the strategies, and provide public engagement measures.
- Heard a report from representatives of the UK, WKU and UofL athletic programs regarding their work in fostering the academic success of student athletes.
- Approved benchmark institutions for the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
- Approved guidelines for the accessibility of electronically delivered instruction and services.