CPE

Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education is recieving hundreds of thousands of dollars to help adult learners.

The $400,000 Lumina Foundation grant will help students follow certificate or associate programs. The initiative will focus on low-income and underrepresented adults with no previous higher education experience.

CPE president Aaron Thompson said in a news release that the commonwealth needs to engage its adult population to meet workforce and education goals.

WKU

Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education is meeting Thursday, Oct. 25,  to interview the three finalists being considered for Council president.

The finalists include Robert Donley, who is Chief Executive Officer for the Board of Regents at State University System of Iowa, and Emily Anne House, who currently serves as chief policy and strategy officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The third finalist is Aaron Thompson, who already works for the CPE as executive vice president and chief academic officer.

Creative Commons

Kentucky’s college freshmen this fall are being urged to take 15 credit hours to become nearly twice as likely to graduate on time. 

A new policy brief by the Council on Postsecondary Education finds that the likelihood of students graduating on time greatly improves for students taking 30 credit hours their first year. 

Chief Academic Officer Aaron Thompson says taking 15 hours a semester can help close the achievement gap among under-represented minority and low-income students.

Creative Commons

The board that governs higher education in Kentucky is considering a proposal to change the minimum guidelines for admission to public colleges and universities. 

For students wanting to enter a state-supported, four-year institution, they would need a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, although schools would be allowed to set higher admission standards. 

CPE President Bob King says students with a lower GPA could be still be accepted, but they would have to enter into a learning contract with the college that would include a number of support services such as remedial classes and mentoring.

Rob Canning, WKMS

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King says Kentucky’s recent strides in economic recovery have not been reflected in its funding for higher education.

The CPE was at Murray State University Tuesday evening as part of its series of town hall debates to gather input on the new five-year strategic initiative plan.

An audience of about 100 educators, business leaders and local and state government officials were present for the forum in MSU's Freed Curd Auditorium.

One of the key challenges outlined in King's presentation was finding alternative funding.

State Funding

Since the 2008 recession, Kentucky colleges have had to cut budgets and raise tuition in light of reduced state appropriations. Although some state experts say the Commonwealth is now on an economic upswing, King says colleges are still struggling to maintain quality programs with reduced funding levels.

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education voted Thursday to cap tuition increases for in-state undergraduate students at the state’s public schools at three percent. It’s the smallest average tuition hike for Kentucky’s public institutions in 15 years.

WKU President Gary Ransdell spoke to the CPE at its meeting at Lindsey Wilson College, and asked for a five percent increase for WKU. 

In an email to faculty and staff Thursday afternoon, Dr. Ransdell said WKU will have to endure a budget cut due to the smaller-than-hoped-for tuition increase.

"A five percent increase would have given us a balanced budget for next year with no cuts," the WKU President wrote. "This CPE action, however, means that we have budget work to do before taking a balanced budget to our Board of Regents in June."

"We will take this in stride as we have done for the last several years.  I have asked the Vice Presidents to begin making recommendations as we begin budget reduction conversations on Monday. Every effort will be made to protect as many jobs as possible and to act in the best interest of our students and employees. I will be back in touch in due course as options take shape. "

CPE President Bob King said the board felt that tuition increases should be kept "as minimal as possible" given the "challenging economic environment" that students are facing.