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postsecondary education 300HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (11/8/13) - The Council on Postsecondary Education unanimously approved its 2014-16 budget recommendation for the postsecondary education sector and its nine institutions at its meeting held yesterday at Madisonville Community College.

The Council’s recommendation calls for an increase of $46.4 million, or 4.9 percent, in 2014-15 and an increase of $49.4 million, or 5.3 percent, in 2015-16 for institutional operations. These additional funds will target priority areas to advance state goals, including degree production, college and career readiness, and research and economic development.

“A large and growing share of future jobs will require college-educated workers. We must reinvest in higher education to develop the highly trained skilled workforce our state needs and to expand support for campus collaboration with our colleagues in K-12 education,” said Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Since 2007-08, Kentucky’s public colleges and universities have lost about a third of their combined, inflation-adjusted net General Fund appropriations per student. The challenging resource environment has strained institutional operating budgets and threatens to impede continuing progress toward state goals. The impact of the lost revenue is magnified by the 9 percent increase of full-time equivalent students, which numbered more than 13,000 during the same time period. Even if this request is fully funded, the institutions would still be operating below 2008 state funding levels. Growth in tuition revenue during the same time period has not been sufficient to fully fund the gap caused by declining state support.

Degree Production Priority Area

The budget request for institutional operations calls for degree production to serve as the basis for a new performance funding approach that will reward institutions for increasing the number of high-quality degrees, linking a portion of their funding to these outcomes. Program funds will be distributed among institutions based on each institution’s share of total average annual degrees produced, weighted by level, with premiums for degrees in STEM+H (science, technology, engineering, math and health) and degrees awarded to underrepresented students, and low-income students.

College and Career Readiness Priority Area

The college and career readiness initiative calls for strengthening K-12 educator programs and expanding the role of higher education institutions in the delivery of professional development programs for teachers, school leaders, guidance counselors, adult education instructors, and faculty members.

Specifically, the program aims to increase college preparation levels by: 1) implementing a clinical model of teacher preparation at the public universities; 2) improving diagnostic assessment and placement testing at middle and high schools; 3) supporting the development of transitional courses and summer bridge programs to address academic deficiencies; and 4) creating a new model of developmental education that places students in credit bearing courses with academic support.

Research and economic development priority area

Research and economic development is another priority initiative that will support the creation of “Centers of Research Excellence” at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville through targeted cluster hires in research focus areas that address state needs and have ties to promising business and industry sectors.

Strategic Investment and Incentive Trust Funds

Also included in the budget request is $8.9 million in 2015-16, recurring in subsequent years, to pay debt service on a $95 million bond issue to support the Endowment Match Program (Bucks for Brains) and a new Workforce Development Match Program. These trust funds will accelerate statewide achievement of reform goals.

The General Assembly has provided four rounds of funding totaling $410 million for the Bucks for Brains program since 1998. With a dollar-for-dollar matching feature, the state’s investment has been used to leverage an additional $410 million in private contributions to encourage research at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville and to strengthen key programs at the comprehensive universities.

The Workforce Development Match Program is a new initiative that will encourage the growth of endowments at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. This program will be used to support workforce education and training activities to create a labor force that stimulates business development, creates better jobs and a higher standard of living, and facilitates Kentucky’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.

Capital Investments and Information Technology Recommendation

The Council’s capital recommendation, totaling $64.2 million in debt service, will support $318 million in asset preservation and renovation, $282 million in new and expanded capital projects, and $60 million in information technology projects.

The capital recommendation reflects the findings from a 2007 facilities study by Vanderweil Facility Advisors, Inc., that identified more than $7 billion of education and general facilities need on state campuses.

The capital request represents an investment strategy that provides a consistent level of funding over the next three biennia, while addressing an appropriate mix of asset preservation, renovation, and new or expanded space needs on each campus. Additionally, the recommendation addresses: 1) both short-term and long-term capital needs; 2) strengthens the link between facility condition, renovation and the need for new space; and 3) identifies projects in three distinct priority categories--asset preservation and renovation, new or expanded education/general and research space, and information technology initiatives.

In other action items, the Council:
•    Awarded $839,000 for the Improving Educator Quality State Grant program for seven projects that deliver research-based professional development programs to P-12 teachers.
•    Approved four new academic programs: a doctor of education P-20 and community leadership and a master of arts in postsecondary education administration at Murray State University, and the bachelor of arts in Chinese and the bachelor arts in Arabic at Western Kentucky University.
•    Approved a recommendation from the Committee on Equal Opportunities to allow each public postsecondary institution to maintain its 2013 new degree program eligibility status for 2014 and direct the next evaluation of equal opportunity goals to be conducted for calendar year 2015.
•    Accepted the Executive Committee’s recommendation to approve the Council’s FY 2012-13 Agency Audit Report.

A wide variety of reports were also heard, including:
•    Overview an update in the growth of online classes and programs and the KCTCS Learn on Demand program
•    Performance presentations by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University and Murray State University
•    President’s Report to the Council
•    Commissioner of Education Report
•    Committee on Equal Opportunities Report
•    Kentucky Virtual Library update
•    Tuition setting process
•    15 to Finish Campaign
•    2011-12 Accountability Report

In committee appointments, Chair Pam Miller appointed Donna Moore, Marcia Ridings and Joe Graviss to serve on a nominating committee to present nominations for Council chair and vice chair at the Feb. 14 meeting. Moore will chair the committee. Miller also appointed Glenn Denton, Dr. Bob Staat, Glenn Means III, Dr. Joe Ellis and Sherrill Zimmerman to serve on the Tuition Review Committee.

The next meeting of the Council is set February 14, 2014, at the Council offices in Frankfort.

Meeting materials are available on the Council’s website by Clicking Here.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Council on Postsecondary Education

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