Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 28, 2011  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

The Council on Postsecondary Education took several tuition and fee-related actions at its meeting held earlier today at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

The Council set maximum tuition and mandatory fee ceilings for in-state undergraduate students for the state’s public colleges and universities, approved a special use fees exception policy for the public institutions, and authorized tuition increases at Murray State University and Western Kentucky University.

The maximum tuition and mandatory fee ceiling increase was set at 4 percent for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, 5 percent for the six comprehensive universities, and 6 percent for the two research universities, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. The comprehensive institutions include Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University.

Council officials said the tuition increases were necessary to partially offset budgeted cuts in state funding, including a $9.9 million reduction in net funds for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1. Tuition increases will also offset an estimated $63.4 million increase in institutional fixed costs for FY 12, including unfunded maintenance and operating expenses for new facilities and mandated increases in employer-paid retirement contributions. These cost estimates do not include faculty and staff salary increases.

The estimated increase in net tuition and fee revenue next year will cover about 60 percent of the anticipated $73.3 million in planned budget reductions and expected fixed cost increases, resulting in a net operating deficit of $29 million.

“These tuition ceilings balance the needs of our campuses to support continued progress on retention and graduation goals and House Bill 1 (1997) goals while maintaining a high quality educational program for students,” said Council President Bob King.

Going forward, King said the Council, with the support of campus presidents, will be establishing performance targets that will affect future funding and tuition levels. Performance targets include metrics such as improved graduation rates and increasing the number of students who transfer from KCTCS to four-year campuses.

According to financial aid information analyzed by Council staff, students rarely pay the stated price of tuition and fees. Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships from federal, state and campus sources, in addition to federal and state tax credits, significantly reduce the net cost of going to college for most students.

The data show that most of the lowest-income, in-state, public undergraduate students, receive grants and scholarships that covered the full cost of tuition, fees, and books in 2009-10.

At UK and UofL, 73 percent of full-time, in-state undergraduate students received grants and scholarships to offset the cost of tuition, fees and books. At the comprehensive institutions, 69 percent of full-time, in-state undergraduates received grants and scholarships, while 50 percent of full-time, in-state undergraduates at KCTCS received grants and scholarships. These percentages do not include subsidized and unsubsidized educational loans.

In other tuition-setting action, the Council maintained the current floor for nonresident, undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at two times the resident, undergraduate rate. For graduate and online tuition and mandatory fees, the Council allowed the public universities to submit market competitive resident and nonresident rates.

A special use fees exception policy to help fund facilities that support student activities and services, such as student unions, fitness centers and recreation complexes, was approved by the Council.

Campus officials and students requesting an exemption must be able to meet a wide range of criteria, including that the fee must be requested and endorsed by students. Fee information must be widely distributed, broadly discussed and voted on while school is in session.

The special use fees will not be subject to the tuition and mandatory fee ceilings set by the Council. An institution’s governing board must also approve the fee before the request is made to the Council.

In separate actions, the Council approved tuition and mandatory fee recommendations for Murray State University and Western Kentucky University. Both recommendations were contingent upon Council approval of the ceilings and both were in compliance.

In other business, the Council:

  • Approved the UK purchase of ambulatory electronic health record equipment/system with $26 million of federal incentive funds, $15 million tax-exempt lease/purchase agreement, and $11 million from UK Health Care operations funds. The project scope is nearly $51.8 million. The project is required by federal legislation.
  • Approved doctorate of nursing practice degree programs at EKU, NKU and WKU. The 2010 Kentucky General Assembly approved the offering of the advanced practice doctorate degrees at Kentucky’s comprehensive universities. The programs will be reviewed in three years.
  • Voted to continue the contract for the Kentucky Center for Mathematics at Northern Kentucky University. The center has excelled in its delivery of primary intervention and coaching strategies to K-12 teachers and has been an active partner across the state in all the reforms surrounding Senate Bill 1.

The Council heard reports on college readiness objectives and strategies, Kentucky’s College Access Challenge grant programs and activities, the Council 2012-2018 capital improvements plan, Committee on Equal Opportunities, and the Commissioner of Education report.

The next meeting of the Council will be held at Transylvania University on June 9-10.

Council meeting materials are available at


We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s postsecondary and adult education system, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit


Last Updated 4/29/2011