By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — As the state legislature gets set to craft the next two-year state budget, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) President Jay Box says investment in higher education must be a priority.
In an interview with The Bottom Line, Box, who recently announced he will be retiring from his position as KCTCS president in June, noted that Kentucky has fallen behind surrounding states at significant rates when it comes to funding higher education.
Over a five-year period, Kentucky has seen a 1.90 percent decrease in funding for the state’s colleges and universities, while neighboring states like Tennessee have increased their investment by more than 33 percent, Virginia has increased funding by 26 percent, and Ohio has seen a 12 percent jump according to data released for the 2020 fiscal year.
Box said this trend is very troubling. And because no additional funding is coming into the pool for higher education but all institutions are now under a performance-based funding model, the already dismal funds are just being moved around between the colleges and universities.
“What we are coming back for in the ask for this legislative session is to increase the performance-based funding pool by 6.2 percent in the first year (of the two-year state budget) and 8.8 percent in the second year. And that is for all postsecondary institutions. We are all in agreement, the eight other university presidents and myself, and are working together to put that ask forward,” Box said.
Watch the full interview with KCTCS President Box to hear more about the need for additional funding for postsecondary education, his retirement, and how business and education groups can work together to move the state forward: