Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

CPE approves plans to forgo tuition hikes at five universities

June 30, 2020

Photo credit: Northern Kentucky University

Students at five Kentucky universities will not face any tuition hikes this fall under plans approved today by the state Council on Postsecondary Education as part of a strategic effort to maintain college affordability during COVID-19.

Public campuses are on track for one of the smallest average increases in tuition in decades, although rates at three state universities remain pending. While the Council did not cap tuition for the 2020-21 academic year, CPE has strongly encouraged campuses to limit increases as students grapple with financial fallout from the pandemic.

Graph of tuition rates

"Higher education is bracing for significant financial challenges over the next 18 months, yet campuses are taking every possible step to keep tuition low and limit the impact on students and families," said CPE President Aaron Thompson. "It's clear that campuses are placing students first in all their decisions, and I want to commend their commitment to affordability in these tough times."

Institutions that abstained from raising rates included Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University. The "no hikes" approach applies to resident and non-resident undergraduates and resident and non-resident graduate students at these campuses.

KSU also received approval to decrease tuition for non-resident undergraduate students by 37.6% – a $7,450 reduction – and Murray State has announced plans to lower its rates for some non-resident students who enroll for the first time this summer or in the fall.

University logos

Budget officials from the five universities and CPE estimate that forgoing increases in tuition will contribute to revenue shortfalls in 2020-21, which could range from $2.4 million to $16 million depending on the campus. Meanwhile, fixed and unavoidable costs are expected to grow across the system.

The Council also approved a plan for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to increase rates by $5 per credit hour for resident undergraduates and $10 per credit hour for non-residents. That will boost revenues by about $2.5 million; however, fixed costs at KCTCS are expected to increase by nearly $30 million next year.

The University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University were still finalizing tuition proposals as of Council's meeting. The Council has authorized its Finance Committee to review and approve those proposals in July.

Last Updated: 7/20/2021