The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has approved limits on tuition increases for public colleges and universities in the next school year, with those at the University on Louisville capped at 5 percent.
This move comes after the Kentucky General Assembly passed a budget that cuts appropriations for higher education by 4.5 percent in each of the next two years — continuing the trend of significant cuts since the Great Recession hit in 2008, and assumedly the even longer trend of significant tuition increases for students.
The Council on Postsecondary Education also approved a maximum $9 per credit hour increase in tuition for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which would amount to a 6.1 percent hike. The University of Kentucky also received a 5 percent cap on tuition increases, while regional universities have limits ranging from 4.6 to 6.1 percent.
These colleges and universities are not required to increase their tuition by the maximum amount, but they must submit their proposals for next year’s tuition to the CPE at their meeting in June.
University of Louisville spokesman John Karman sent a statement to IL saying that university officials are currently working on a budget plan that will address the latest round of state cuts with the least amount of pain for students.
“It would be premature to discuss any particulars of this proposed plan at the present time,” said Karman. “As always, our goal is to ensure access to an affordable, quality education for all students who desire it. We will continue to strengthen our financial aid program and hope to increase scholarship opportunities in our efforts to offset any tuition increases.”
Kenny Colston, the communications director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says that tuition hikes are the inevitable result of the General Assembly repeatedly cutting funding for higher education, which ultimately hurts both students and the state’s future.
“Higher tuition due to funding cuts is leading to growing student loan debt and an increasing number of students who can no longer afford to pursue or complete their degrees,” says Colston. “Instead of holding our whole state back, legislators should look to increase state revenue by closing special interest loopholes to help make college affordable again.”
Gov. Matt Bevin signed the budget bill on Wednesday, though he vetoed several bills providing needs-based scholarships and delayed the start of a tuition program for students going to community colleges by one year.
As seen in the KCEP chart below, the tuition for in-state students at UofL and UK has tripled over the last 15 years.