There is currently no relationship between state funding and student success. Kentucky spends nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money annually on universities based solely on politics, not performance.
Under our current system, a university enrolling 5,000 more students or conferring 1,000 fewer degrees this year would still receive the same amount of funding next year. Taxpayer dollars should be linked to the success of our students.
To attract and retain the jobs our state needs to thrive, Kentucky’s elected officials must invest our limited resources wisely. We will create accountability for our nearly $1 billion in postsecondary education funding by linking that investment to student outcomes.
This is Kentucky’s opportunity to identify its economic priorities and to link taxpayer dollars to higher education funding that delivers essential workforce needs to help Kentucky thrive.
Our current system funnels taxpayer dollars to universities with no strings attached. In an era of scarce resources, we must tie this $1 billion in annual funding to outcomes.
Taxpayer dollars should be invested wisely based on a funding model that links state appropriations to student outcomes.
Before we can create a rational, outcomes-based funding model, Kentucky must address the longstanding state funding disparity among existing higher education institutions. The Council on Postsecondary Education is also asking the Governor and Legislature to address this disparity. Based on the CPE’s analysis, this disparity includes annual underfunding of NKU by $10.7 million, and of Western Kentucky University by $5 million.
Kentucky must create a long-term, rational, and strategic postsecondary education funding model that is based heavily on student outcomes and institutional accountability (an Outcomes-Based Funding Model). This model must:
Be transparent and easy to understand;
Involve a limited set of critical metrics; and
Include the existing $1 billion appropriation to higher education and all future funding.