Release Date: May 23, 2005
Contact: Sue Patrick
Phone: (502) 573-1555, ext. 308
(Lexington, KY) - The Council on Postsecondary Education approved 2005-06 tuition increases and required fees for students at the state’s public colleges and universities at its meeting yesterday.
"Providing a quality education at an affordable price is an important goal of the Council. It will be even more of a balancing act as student enrollments continue to grow," said Tom Layzell, Council president.
To help ensure student affordability in the future, the Council also voted to develop a process for approving tuition and fees that ensures adequate justification exists for the tuition increases based on affordability, fiscal responsibility, institutional missions and other appropriate measures. The new policy will require the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the public universities to submit proposed rates of tuition and required fees for the 2006-07 academic year to the Council for action that will allow for sufficient time for public comment, student notification and planning. The Council will also establish procedures to review and approve rates of tuition and required fees for any modifications in the rates if the need arises.
The issue of student affordability, which includes tuition and fees, has been a growing concern both in the state and nationally.
The Council is engaged in two student affordability studies, the results of which will inform the process and criteria for determining tuition and fees. Kentucky was chosen to participate in a two-year project undertaken by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education to investigate how decision-makers can best align tuition, financial aid, and state appropriations policies with the goal of improving access to college, especially for low-income students. The Council has also contracted with JBL Associates, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland, to perform a comprehensive affordability study of Kentucky’s postsecondary system. The affordability study was recommended by the Council’s Affordability Policy Group, established over a year ago.
Last month the Council’s Executive Committee heard presentations from presidents concerning the need for proposed tuition increases. The presidents cited the need for salary increases, adding faculty and staff positions, escalating fixed costs such as health insurance, student financial aid, and initiatives to improve student retention and transfer as reasons for the increases.
House Bill 1 gives the Council responsibility for determining tuition rates for public universities and colleges. In 1999, the Council approved a policy to give institutional boards the ability to recommend varying institutional tuition and fee rates. Under this revised process, the Council established guidelines, reviewed rates for consistency with the guidelines, and retained its authority to revise proposed rates.
Kentucky's postsecondary education system encompasses nine public institutions, numerous independent institutions and Kentucky Adult Education. The system represents 231,612 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and their families.