2011-15 STRATEGIC AGENDA FOCUS ON STUDENT SUCCESS: UPDATE ON POLICY OBJECTIVE 5
Goal: Kentucky will be stronger by ensuring more of its people complete college with the skills and abilities to be productive, engaged citizens.
Policy Objective #5: Decrease financial barriers to college access and completion.
Strategy 5.1: Increase funding for the state’s need-based student financial aid programs and ensure they address the needs of part-time, transfer, and adult students, as well as traditional students.
- Council staff will continue to work closely with the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) on student aid policies and advocacy strategies around postsecondary access.
- Support for adequate student aid will continue to be a high priority in the Council’s biennial funding request to the legislature. The funding gap in the state’s primary need-based financial aid program – the College Access Program – is growing. Last year approximately 60,000 eligible students, out of a total of nearly 100,000, did not receive aid due to lack of funding.
- Kentucky’s colleges and universities continue to increase institutional funding for student aid. Over the next year, more analysis will be done to assess the distribution of aid and additional funds required to satisfy unmet need.
- All public postsecondary institutions offer transfer scholarships to improve pathways from two- to four-year campuses. KCTCS also supports student scholarships and transfer services with recurring funding from the Workforce Development Trust Fund.
- The Commonwealth, through KHEAA, developed a program several years ago to assist working adults attending college. The Go Higher Grant program provides some assistance to adults who attend college less than half-time. Non-traditional adult students also have access to other state and federal programs, but because many require more than part-time enrollment, qualifying for adequate aid to meet to meet financial need is often a barrier to college completion.
Strategy 5.2: Advocate for sufficient state operating support, financial aid, and campus efficiencies to reduce pressure on tuition.
- Following the recommendations of the Governor’s Higher Education Workgroup, the Council hosted the first statewide Higher Education Cost Containment Summit in the fall of 2010. This statewide event brought together education and other professionals to discuss cost containment strategies and efforts to reduce pressure on tuition through efficiencies in both business and academic functions.
- The Council staff is refining CPE’s annual Net Cost Analysis to provide a more comprehensive picture of the average cost of college for students in various income categories net of state, federal, and institutional grants and scholarships.
Strategy 5.3: Support Pell Grants, the simplification of FAFSA, college savings programs, college work study, tax credits, and other federal aid initiatives intended to maximize student access and success.
- Kentucky is one of five pilot states in a national project that is analyzing the effects of simplifying the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Financial Aid) and other forms of financial aid that students receive. The Council, in partnership with KHEAA, has been working with the College Board for over a year on the project. Results are expected this summer.
- Council staff is monitoring federal action on student aid and other access programs and is working with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), Kentucky’s federal relations office in Washington, D.C., and other organizations to urge adequate and sustained support for key federal programs such as Pell and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).
- As of May 31, the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust’s (KESPT) 12,534 account owners have saved over $131.1 million for college. Recent KESPT marketing efforts include the statewide “Dream Out Loud” contest for students in grades K-6 (which ran from January to April 2011), as well as the current “Destination College Savings” summer reading program contest in partnership with the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
Strategy 5.4: Increase students’ and families’ understanding of the net costs of going to college and the availability of financial resources to assist them.
- All Kentucky colleges and universities now have net price calculators on their web sites. Net price is what a student actually pays to attend college, after subtracting discounts and aid from the sticker price.
- Kentucky has received a second round of federal funding ($2 million) through the College Access Challenge Grant program to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. It is a matching program administered by KHEAA.
- Kentucky launched the Kentucky College Coaches Program in 2010, which assigns near-peer mentors in low-income high schools across the Commonwealth. This program, a recommendation of the Governor’s Higher Education Workgroup, is administered by the Kentucky Campus Compact and supported through AmeriCorps and partnerships with educational providers and organizations across the state.
- GEAR UP is a federally-funded program administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education that encourages middle and high school students to stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to college. The Council is finalizing its application for a third round of funding, which will be submitted later this summer.
- The Council staff has facilitated several state-level discussions regarding college textbooks to determine state and institutional strategies to lower costs for students. Representatives from public universities and KCTCS, textbook publishers, and others have participated in these conversations.
Date: June 9, 2011