Kentucky state university presidents have signed a letter requesting more money for higher education, but one leading official is “less confident” it will receive attention this budget session.
The letter, sent to state legislators, was signed by all eight state university presidents and the community and technical college system president.
It uses Gov. Steve Beshear’s own words from his state address this month to reinforce the commitment to education spending this budget writing session.
But Beshear’s focus has been primarily on the K-12 system, says Bob King, president of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education.
King says he’s less optimistic that higher education will be a priority too.
“I’m confident that the Governor is going to provide some new resources for K-12. I am less confident that higher ed will benefit from that directly,” he says.
Additional funding requests by the CPE this year include money for college readiness programs and regional partnerships, King says. He adds its important when thinking about education to focus on a cradle to career perspective.
While no new funding for K-12 education has been provided the past several years, higher education’s budget has been cut.
Also this week, the CPE was invited to the White House summit in Washington D.C. to discuss how to improve the college going culture for low-income and minority students. One of the largest takeaways for King was the need for more school counselors.
“The real time that’s available to sit down with a counselor, learn about what kind of opportunities are out there, what might be the best fit for them in terms of degree programs to pursue and campuses to attend, simply just doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen with enough depth to be helpful,” says King.
The most recent data from the education department shows the student to counselor ration in Kentucky is 450 to 1., officials say.