State Senator Dan Seum of Louisville has filed a bill with the Kentucky State Senate that would prohibit state colleges and universities from increasing tuition and fees for the next four years. After the four years, any hikes in tuition or fees would need to be approved by the state legislature.
Seum says officials at many colleges and universities have used state budget cuts as an excuse to raise the cost of college. Since 2008, state funding for post-secondary education has been cut by 16%, which is approximately $173 million. However, during that same time, tuition has been increased at such a rate to generate an extra $588 million that stays with the schools.
Spokeswoman for the Council on Postsecondary Education, Sue Patrick, says that these tuition increases do not provide a complete and accurate picture since the numbers used by Seum do not account of the financial aid offered. According to her, state funding on a per student basis has decreased by $2,690 since 2008, but the tuition and fees increases during the same time have only generated $2,259 per student, which leaves a $431 deficit per student. Patrick also said she will not comment on the bill until she has to chance to read it.
The Council on Postsecondary Education is a 15-member panel that was appointed by the governor to approve all tuition and fee increases at state colleges and universities. The purpose of the group was to remove state politics from determining what is a reasonable tuition rate. Critics of the group believe the that the council has failed to do their job and that tuition increases are out of control, while supporters of the group believe that the council has done its best to prevent out of control increases saying that schools need to make up the money being cut from somewhere.