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State lawmakers considering adjustments to higher ed performance funding

Left to right at the table-CPE President Aaron Thompson-Senate President Pro Tem David Givens 02-15-24
Stu Johnson
Left to right at the table-CPE President Aaron Thompson-Senate President Pro Tem David Givens 02-15-24

The performance funding formula for Kentucky’s public universities is receiving scrutiny in Frankfort. Lawmakers are considering modifications to the formula during the current legislative session.

There are a variety of metrics established in the formula to reward each university for academic performance. Those include enrollment growth and degrees granted. During a committee hearing, Senate President Pro Tem David Givens talked about what he termed a ‘minor adjustment of the dials.”

“It simply says we’re going to count low-income at a higher level. We’re also going to acknowledge the role the adult learned plays in this space of us getting that workforce that we need to make the Commonwealth healthy,” said Givens.

In addition to having more financial resources on campus to serve low-income students, Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson said it’s important to increase the number of low-income students in the pipeline. He added, quote, “how well you do is how much you get paid.”

“For an example for low-income students before we were paying somewhere around 15 hundred dollars per degree low income. We’ve increased this almost $5000. So, you can see the amount of difference that would happen. It’s significant, if you do it,” said Thompson.

The bill emerged from the Senate Education Committee Thursday. For a future discussion, Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas suggested an award should be linked to under-represented Appalachian students.

Senate President and committee member Robert Stivers asked about a systemic review of all public universities as a way to address what he termed “silo decisions.” David Givens spoke about an increase in performance funding overall that will be hammered out in the state budget. Aaron Thompson said the CPE requested increases of 9 and 12 percent. He said the House-approved budget calls for a 4% increase.

Here's more with Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson:


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