Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Efficiency and Innovation

Kentucky will be stronger by creating new ways of serving more postsecondary students at a high quality in a challenging resource environment.


Kentucky’s public and independent institutions more than doubled the number of degrees and credentials produced over the past ten years. This has been accomplished in a challenging resource environment where state support per student, adjusted for enrollment growth and inflation, decreased by more than $3,000 per student. A portion of that funding loss was offset by tuition paid by students and families, as well as increased financial aid.

Aggressive cost containment, cost avoidance, and reallocation strategies—including the effective use of technology, renegotiating vendor contracts, outsourcing, and many other initiatives—have produced dramatic savings to the state and enabled postsecondary education to maintain quality and move forward on improvement efforts in a fiscally challenging environment.


As state revenues continue to be unpredictable and support for public services vacillates, postsecondary institutions will find ways to increase capacity and maintain quality while moderating tuition increases and containing costs. Meeting these challenges will require greater innovation and flexibility than ever before.

The “new normal,” however difficult, provides a powerful incentive for continued change. Kentucky’s postsecondary education institutions will continue to discover new approaches and revenue streams to improve quality and productivity. Offering academic programs and educational services in multiple formats that accommodate different learning styles makes education work for more students and increases capacity. Postsecondary institutions will continue to streamline administrative operations, improve space utilization and the use of technology, and maximize opportunities for joint purchases and contracts.

The system is continuously monitoring progress and using data to make effective, informed decisions that promote student success. Colleges and universities that rise to the challenge of improved performance deserve incentives and rewards. Higher education funding mechanisms will be reexamined to ensure state investments are maximizing desired results.

Policy Objectives

Policy Objective 8: Increase academic productivity through program innovations.


  • 8.1. Increase productivity and maximize success for both traditional and nontraditional students through course redesign and alternative methods of program delivery.
  • 8.2. Build upon the success of Kentucky’s Virtual Campus and Virtual Library to maximize the use of technology in implementing academic innovations.
  • 8.3. Redesign approval and review processes for new and existing academic programs to ensure alignment with state needs.

Policy Objective 9: Maximize the use of postsecondary and adult education resources.


  • 9.1. Effectively integrate Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities into efforts to achieve greater efficiencies and expand postsecondary opportunities.
  • 9.2. Explore options for consolidating or outsourcing pertinent operations, as well as facilitating joint purchasing and contracts.
  • 9.3. Develop statewide policies that promote the effective and efficient use of capital facilities and infrastructure.


Efficiency and Innovation Performance Metrics
  • Online learning
  • Degree productivity relative to education and related expenditures

(Performance Metrics Chart)

Legislative mandates
  • HB 1 (1997)
    envisions a postsecondary system with a single point of accountability to "ensure coordination of programs and efficient use of resources."
  • The Governor's Higher Education Work Group (2009)
    recommended several measures to increase the postsecondary system's efficiency, productivity, and financial transparency.

Last Updated 4/14/2011