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House panel backs financial disclosure measure for universities and colleges

Van Lear Kentucky Representative Bobby McCool
LRC Public Information
Van Lear Kentucky Representative Bobby McCool

The Kentucky legislature is looking at how the state’s colleges and universities report their financial information. A bill passed by the House Education Committee would have Kentucky’s universities and colleges submit annual financial disclosure information to the General Assembly. Bill sponsor, Van Lear GOP Representative Bobby McCool said it could help address financial problems at postsecondary institutions.

“Now that could happen where a university or college and anything that falls under the Council on Postsecondary Education could see some financial difficulties one year. But, at least we would know that early and those adjustments can be made, certainly through the Council on Postsecondary Education,” said McCool.

McCool said such a law might have helped to address financial mismanagement issues at Kentucky State University. The House has approved a $23 million loan to KSU this session. The bill awaits action in the Senate.

McCool noted he talked to representatives of UK, EKU, Morehead, Western, and Big Sandy Technical College. He added school officials were supportive of the measure.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson told panel members it would also pertain to private schools.

“This is an issue for higher education in our state and it’s not just the publics. Two privates have closed in the last few years. So, representative McCool I thank you for this bill. We look forward to working with the legislature to make sure it’s enacted…correctly,” said Thompson.

Here’s a statement from Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin regarding HB 663.

“At EKU we pride ourself on making strategic and financially sound business decisions that are tested and certified through an annual independent audit. While our budget and audit documents have always been available for public view, we embrace the opportunity to provide further transparency and disclosure to ensure to all concerned that EKU is furthering the mission of our institution and prioritizing an accessible and affordable education for our students all while making financially prudent decisions. I appreciate Rep. McCool’s leadership and continued commitment to success for our postsecondary institutions in Kentucky.”

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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