Higher Education

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s budget doesn’t include any additional money for the state’s performance-based funding model for higher education.

The Council on Postsecondary Education says it needs more money in order to continue implementing the state’s performance-based funding model. 

The performance-based funding model is designed to reward colleges and universities for increasing the number of degrees earned. 


Lindsey Wilson College

A collaboration of Kentucky colleges is adding a fifth member. 

The collaboration that launched with the fall semester of 2019 is called the University Center of Southern Kentucky. It's based at Somerset Community College.

The newest partner is Lindsey Wilson College. The founding partners are Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University.

The collaboration gives students the opportunity to complete an associate’s degree at Somerset Community College and then earn a four-year degree through one of the partner colleges. 


WKU

The Director of Admissions at Western Kentucky University says colleges are having to rethink their approach to attracting prospective students.  Jace Lux points to a recent Gallup poll showing a significant decrease in the perceived value of a college education among young adults.

"Whereas we used to be able to start a conversation with students and families about why they should choose WKU, now we're really having to back that conversation up and start with all of  the reaons why they should go to college in the first place," Lux said. 


WFPL

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wants to combat the rising debt load of many college students by allowing families to use retirement savings to pay off their loans.

The Bowling Green Republican is sponsoring legislation that would let students dip into retirement accounts to help pay college tuition or make monthly debt payments. Individuals could take up to $5,250 each year from their 401(k) or IRA, tax and penalty free, and their parents could divert thousands of dollars more.

Paul’s bill is called the Higher Education Loan Repayment and Enhanced Retirement Act, or HELPER

Thinkstock

While many states are still struggling to fully restore funding for public universities and community colleges since 2008, Kentucky is falling even farther behind. The state’s funding for higher education has fallen by more than a quarter since just before the recession, after adjusting for inflation.

new report from the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington D.C. compared the amount state governments have spent on higher education per student in the past decade. When adjusting for inflation, the report found Kentucky spent $2,792 less per student in 2018 compared to 2008. The average cut to state funding for higher education nationwide for the same time period was $1,220.

 


Western Kentucky University is doing away with the ACT as a factor in most scholarships for incoming freshmen, and will instead focus on high school grades. 

“It means that we’re going to place the emphasis on performance over four years of high school, instead of one day of testing," WKU President Timothy Caboni said in announcing the changes Tuesday. 

"And we also are going to reduce the GPA requirement to be eligible for those scholarships from a 3.3 down to a 3.0, and we’re increasing that minimum scholarship by $1,000,” said Caboni.


Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech is expanding its presence in Kentucky by opening a campus in Bowling Green. 

The school has a traditional campus in Fort Wayne, along with 18 other locations that primarily serve working adults. 

“The difference between us and other schools, is that even if they’re online students, we like to have people face to face to offer various types of support from admissions to tutoring to helping them with registration," said VP for Enrollment Management Steve Herendeen.

Somerset Community College

Western Kentucky University and Somerset Community College formally signed an agreement Thursday that will lead to expanded degree offerings in Pulaski County.

The partnership will allow WKU to offer bachelor’s degrees through SCC, a two-year college. The aim is to increase access for Pulaski County-area students with work or family obligations who need to remain in the region.

SCC President Carey Castle said increasing local college degree holders will have a wide-ranging impact.

“I was in a meeting this morning with Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority, and those industry individuals are just looking forward to this opportunity to get university graduates in the area.”

Lisa Autry

A report from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education shows the state is on pace to meet a 2030 goal of having 60% of the adult population with a college degree.   The student pipeline, however, will need some retro-fitting in the future.

In order to meet the 60x30 goal, colleges and universities as a whole, must have degree growth of 1.7% every year. 

A report released this week from the CPE shows during the past two academic years, the state saw increases of four and nearly three percent, respectively, but that progress can’t be sustained if dependent on high school graduates alone. 


Lisa Autry

The new head of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says he expects colleges and universities to re-evaluate their course offerings just as Western Kentucky University has recently done. 

WKU is preparing to eliminate 101 academic programs while transforming and expanding others. 

In an interview on Thursday with WKU Public Radio, CPE President Aaron Thompson said schools are eliminating both people and programs to contend with a decrease in state funding, declining enrollment, and increasing pension obligations.

WKU

Recommendations for the future of Western Kentucky University’s 380 academic programs are one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Regents voted Friday in favor of accepting recommendations from the school’s Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) committee.

Two members of the Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee, Chairman Jason McKinney and David Brinkley, voted in favor of the CAPE recommendations, with WKU Faculty Regent Claus Ernst abstaining.

The fourth member of the committee, Student Regent Stephen Mayer, wasn’t present.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University community is digesting the release of a set of recommendations impacting the school’s 380 academic programs.

WKU began the in-house review of programs last fall after years of state budget cuts and recent enrollment declines.

The decision to grow, maintain, or suspend certain programs is a part of WKU’s Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation, or CAPE. The process examined the future viability of WKU’s academic programs, including majors, minors, and certificates.

WKU

The Acting Provost of Western Kentucky University says 26 percent of the academic programs at the school are being recommended for suspension.

Cheryl Stevens revealed the affected programs in an email sent to WKU faculty and staff Monday night.

 

You can see the full list of the school's academic programs, and those recommended for suspension here.

 

WKU spokesman Bob Skipper said in an email to WKU Public Radio that the recommended cuts would impact "roughly 3 percent" of the school's enrollment. 

 

The results of the school's Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) will be taken up at this Friday's Board of Regents committee meeting.

 

Stevens said the CAPE committee is recommending the suspension of 101 academic programs, including 11 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees, and 86 other credentials such as minors and certificates.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has approved a 2 percent tuition increase for the 2019-20 academic year.

The move means tuition for in-state undergraduate students will increase $100, to $5,401 per semester.

The decision at Friday’s meeting follows a 4 percent tuition hike for the current academic year that began last fall.

WKU President Tim Caboni said the school understands students are being asked to shoulder an increasing financial burden when it comes to their education.

WKU

A seismic generational shift is underway on college campuses across the globe.  With fewer college age students to pull from, the competition for enrollment and retention is intense. 

Jeff Kallay is CEO of Render Experiences, a national consulting firm specializing in the college experience.  He says services are the new amenities for Gen-X parents and their post-9/11 Gen-Z students.

“Academic advising, career services...so services that keep my son or daughter happy, healthy, and on target to graduate on time and to have an outcome to the next level of post professional school or graduate school or getting that job."


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