Maintaining college affordability is critical to increasing college access. However, state cuts to higher education over the last decade have shifted a larger portion of college costs to students and their families. The Council works with Kentucky’s public institutions to moderate tuition increases to ensure the price and the cost of a college credential is cost-effective for students and institutions alike.
State law gives the Council authority to determine tuition. Since 2009, the Council has exercised that authority by setting a ceiling on tuition and for a given academic year (or two years). Institution governing boards then propose rates that comply with the Council’s ceiling. Finally, the proposed rates are reviewed and approved by the Council.
- Tuition at public institutions of higher education in Kentucky - 13 KAR 2:050
- Fee-setting and incidental expenses - KRS 164.400
Tuition and Mandatory Fee Policy
In 2008, the Council created a regulatory framework that outlines this process for determining tuition and fee increases. Each tuition cycle, this policy is updated to reflect the current rates.
The Finance Committee, a subcommittee of the Council, initiates all policy decisions regarding tuition. For more information, consult the Council's meeting records page.
The Council’s role as mediator balances students’ and families’ ability to pay for college, as well as the institutional revenue needed to partially offset decreases in state funding and increased costs. In addition, as the developer of statewide higher education goals, the Council reviews Kentucky’s economic climate and market needs.
Decisions around ceilings are based on discussions with with campus presidents and chief budget officers, Council members, student groups, and the Governor’s office with the following in mind:
- Students’ family and individual incomes and their capacity to save for college.
- Federal, state and institutional scholarships and grants available to assist with tuition costs.
- Students and parents’ reliance on loans and potential debt levels.
- The need to enroll and graduate more students to build Kentucky’s workforce.
In determining rates, the Council also considers the economic climate and the actual costs associated with an education at Kentucky’s public institutions. These costs range from faculty salaries, pensions and benefits, building maintenance to student services.
State Tuition Data
For more information about Kentucky's tuition rates, consult the following data sources:
- Tuition rates: Kentucky Students' Right to Know dashboard (KYSTATS)
- Tuition revenue: State Higher Education Finance report (SHEEO)
- Financial aid: Financial aid dashboard (CPE)
Last Updated: 1/16/2022