New formula for funding higher ed discussed

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 18, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.



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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — University presidents are meeting with Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education to try to come up with a new formula for funding higher education.

Council President Robert King told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1mfD3r8) that he hopes the group can come up with a modern and equitable formula by the end of the year.

He said the plan would be to have lawmakers consider the proposal in 2016, which is the next time they will consider a state budget.

King says details are still being worked out, but a new formula could factor in items such as enrollment, mission and academics.

The group plans to continue meeting over the next few months.

An overhaul of Kentucky's system is likely contingent on lawmakers increasing the state's $910 million higher education budget, which has seen cuts in recent years.

"You can't take money from some and give it to others," King said. "Everybody feels like they're underfunded."

State Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said many lawmakers want to see a formula that includes a performance element but a lot will depend on how much funding there is to divvy up.

"It's hard to implement a new system when you're cutting," he said.

Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns said he favors an immediate change because the current formula is shortchanging his growing school.

He told the newspaper an NKU analysis found state spending per-degree in 2011-12 ranged from $24,782 at Northern Kentucky University to $107,686 at Kentucky State University.

"Kentucky is unusual across the county in having no rational methodology at all for allocating funds," he said.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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The Associated Press

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