Local News

Council to Consider U of L Tuition Hike Request

University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey says he expects the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to approve U of L’s request for a six percent tuition hike that would take effect next academic year.

Ramsey says for more than a decade now, his and other public institutions have had to find ways to offset annual cuts in state funding, and for the third straight year, U of L is seeking a six-percent tuition increase, the maximum allowed by the council.

He says to soften the financial hardship on students, the institution is trying to raise more funds for tuition and other assistance.

“The biggest item of our capital campaign that we’re raising money for is scholarships and student financial aid. So we are raising more money for that. We’re trying to do other things and generate other revenue sources,” he said.

The Council on Postsecondary Education will consider tuition hike requests from U of L and other schools tomorrow in Lexington. U of L’s increase must still be approved by the board of trustees finance committee next month and the full board in June.

Ramsey presented the university’s proposed budget to students, faculty and staff today.

Frankfort Local News

CPE President Says Higher Tuition Won’t Make Up for Budget Cuts

The head of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education foresees a dire future for higher education if the state can’t correct its budget woes soon.

CPE President Robert King told a budget subcommittee today that Governor Steve Beshear’s 6.4 percent budget cut on higher education will definitely mean higher tuition for college students. But another increase won’t be enough to fill the hole created by four years of budget cuts.

“But if we were to raise tuition seven percent for all students, full-time, part-time, in-state, out of state, graduate, undergraduate, etc. It would only produce sixty-one million dollars of revenue against one hundred and twenty to sixty million dollars of hole we have to fill,” King told the panel.

Those numbers are based on the CPE’s projections on university needs for building maintenance, faculty retention and operating expenses. King says those areas have either not been funded or have been severely cut in past years. King has one piece of good news for students. He says despite the budget cuts, CPE will not allow universities to increase tuition seven percent or more.

As part of his presentation, King pleaded with lawmakers to focus on education as a way to fix the state’s poverty problems. He said if the state funded higher education then budget drains like Medicare and jail funds would decrease.

“What I think this shows us is that we are expending our money and our public policies to the symptoms and now starting to seriously underfund the cure (of poverty),” he said.

Reduction of financial commitments or budget cuts has left universities unable to maintain buildings and retain faculty, much less make needed improvements, he told the committee.

The General Assembly has until April 10 to pass the next two-year budget

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Beshear Orders Review of Proposal to Add University of Pikeville to State System

After two prominent eastern Kentucky leaders pushed for the private University of Pikeville to become a state-supported institution, Governor Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that a study on the feasibility of adding the college to the state system will begin immediately.

Over the past few weeks, former Governor Paul Patton, who is now president of UPIKE, joined House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestongsburg, in lobbying for the change, which could come during the upcoming General Assembly and take effect fall 2012.

But other university officials said adding another school to the system was a major policy decision that required more study.

In a news release, Beshear says he will request proposals this week to hire a consultant who will conduct the study and review a variety of issues such as educational needs in eastern Kentucky, economic impact of including Pikeville University and the impact of the proposal on the existing system of state universities.

“The University of Pikeville meets a regional need for quality education in Appalachia, and the school’s growth illustrates its potential as an economic driver in the area. Universities are economic drivers in their regions, producing well-educated and trained students who are prepared to enter the workforce,” he says.

Local News

CPE Plans to Submit Capital Needs Plan to General Assembly

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

The president of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education says the council is developing a capital needs plan to submit to state lawmakers. Robert King made the comment in Morehead last week as the council met at Morehead State University.

“While we tend to want to see all the new buildings, the real need is for some of the older buildings that are now 30, 40, 50 years old and in pretty significant need of renovation and repair,” he said.

Local News

U of L Panel To Consider Tuition Hike

A University of Louisville trustees committee will meet Thursday to consider a tuition hike for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Spokesperson Mark Hebert says the Finance Committee will vote on a recommendation to raise undergraduate tuition by six percent, as permitted by the state Council on Postsecondary Education.

“What that means is that U of L’s tuition for the year, next school year, would be $8,400 for an in-state Kentucky resident student who goes to U of L,” he said.

The committee recommendation will then be considered by the full trustee board.

Hebert says the tuition hike is needed to offset continued cuts in state funding.

He says U of L is also increasing the amount of financial aid available for students.

Local News

High Court Rules In Fox Dispute With State

By Tony McVeigh/Kentucky Public Radio

The Kentucky Supreme Court has handed Virginia Fox, formerly of Kentucky Educational Television, a major victory in her legal battle with the state.

In July 2007, then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed Virginia Fox to the Council on Postsecondary Education for a term expiring December 2012.

In 2008, the Kentucky Senate approved Fox’s appointment, but the House did not. By then, Steve Beshear was governor and his attorney informed Fox her seat was legally vacant and she was being replaced on the CPE by former Lexington Mayor Pam Miller.

Fox sued, saying the ultimate power to confirm appointees resides with the Senate. The trial court granted the governor’s motion to dismiss and the case immediately moved to the Supreme Court.

In a 5-2 decision, with Justices Cunningham and Shroder dissenting, the high court agrees with Fox. The court says Section 93 of the state constitution, as amended in 1992, clearly gives the Senate confirmation authority over appointees.

The high court did not reinstate Fox, but sent the case back to Franklin Circuit Court for further deliberations.

Local News

College Credits Bill Clears Hurdle In Frankfort

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A bill making its way through the Kentucky General Assembly will make it easier for community college graduates to transfer course credits to state universities.

In his State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Steve Beshear called for a seamless transfer of course credits from community colleges to universities. A bill that helps accomplish that goal has now cleared the House Education committee, with the support of Robert King of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

“We’ve been working closely with Rep. Rollins and some of his colleagues to craft the bill. We think it’s a good bill and ought to be passed,” King said.

The measure, which now goes to the House floor, gives priority admission of associate degree graduates to state public universities and creates a common public college transcript.

In-Depth News

CPE Selects New Leader

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A nationwide search for a new president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is over.

In September 2007, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Thomas Layzell retired. To fill the post until a permanent replacement was found, the council turned to Lexington lawyer Brad Cowgill, former Governor Ernie Fletcher’s budget director.

In April, the council voted to retain Cowgill as permanent president, a move that upset the state’s new governor, Steve Beshear. After Beshear complained Cowgill was hired without a legally-required national search, Cowgill resigned. Beshear applauded the move saying “it ends a very difficult situation for everybody.” “And allows us all to come together move forward, get a search committee up and really do a national search now and find a permanent president.”

Eight months later, the search is over. Forty of the 150 people who applied were given a serious look. The field was then narrowed to 10 and later to two. The finalists were Vermont State College Chancellor Robert Clarke and Robert King, the former chancellor of the New York State University System. In a unanimous vote, the council has chosen King.

“I appreciate search processes and know that you considered some really terrific candidates from around the country. So, I’m particularly honored that you thought I was worthy of this, King said.

The 61 year old King, who currently chairs a charitable foundation in Arizona, officially begins work April 1st.

“What I’ve discovered in the couple of years I’ve been away from higher ed is how much I miss it and how much I love what it can do for our country. And if I can be a small part of that, that’s what I’d like to commit the balance of my working life to, and so I’m thrilled to be here,” he said.

King says one of his major goals will be to build better bridges between the K-12 system and the universities.

“To help improve the learning outcomes for kids, so that when they come to the university or to the community colleges, they’re ready to go – I think can have an enormous impact. And I think higher education can help in that regard.”

Seconding the motion to hire King was former Governor Paul Patton, who championed higher education reform in 1997 and now serves on the CPE.

“This man has the background, the academic knowledge of the way the academy works, the political skills to get all of the institutions working together, to work with the governor, to work with the legislature, to pursue the goals of House Bill 1. I could not be more enthusiastic,” Patton said.

Also applauding King’s hiring is Governor Beshear:
“I feel very good about the process that the CPE went through and the search that they went through to find a nationally qualified person for this job,” he said. “And from everything I know about Mr. King and his background, he certainly meets the statutory requirements that we look for in the head of the CPE.”

Senate budget chairman Charlie Borders says he doesn’t yet know much about King, but hopes he’ll be a strong leader who opposes political interference with CPE affairs, “who can sit down with the administration, sit down with the legislature and convince them that they have a direction that’s good for the Council on the Postsecondary Education and lead this state.”

By law, the CPE president must make more than the highest paid public university president, which is $352,000. King’s contract includes an annual salary of $360,000, $40,000 for housing and a car.

King, who has a law degree from Vanderbilt University, has been married for 32 years. He and his wife, Karen, have four grown children.