TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

State News

February 4, 2014

Community college students to pay more per hour

CORBIN — By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service

Kentucky’s community college students will pay more per hour beginning next fall, independent of any increases in tuition.

That assumes the General Assembly approves a plan to allow the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to finance construction projects at each of its 16 campuses through “agency bonds,” borrowing that will be financed by the colleges rather than through the state’s General Fund.

Students at the community colleges will for the first time be assessed a fee — ultimately $8 per credit hour per student — to help finance debt service on the bonds.

KCTCS President Michael McCall said Monday he expects the fee to be phased in over two years, beginning with a $4 fee in the fall of 2014 with an additional $4 on top of the first beginning in the fall of 2015.

Gov. Steve Beshear is proposing in the budget he’s submitting to lawmakers to allow KCTCS to fund $194 million of construction projects through a combination of $145.5 million from fees generated by the schools and the remaining 25 percent, or $48.5 million, coming from local, private investment. He and McCall, flanked by several of the campus presidents, Monday touted the proposal as “the single largest investment in the KCTCS system since it was founded in 1997.”

Among the projects are the $7.5 million renovation of the main building at Ashland CTC; $21 million for the first phase of constructing a new Postsecondary Center of Excellence at the Rowan County campus of Maysville CTC; and construction of a community intergeneration center in Jackson campus of Hazard CTC at a cost of $1.5 million.

The building at Ashland was built in 1967, McCall said, and is in sore need of renovation. Dr. Kay Adkins, CEO of Ashland CTC, said the renovation will also allow more energy efficiency.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity for this public-private partnership to be able to upgrade the original infrastructure of the College Drive Campus main building,” Adkins said. “These upgrades will not only make the campus more comfortable for our students, faculty and staff, but the buildings will be more energy efficient as a result of the upgrades.”

McCall and the presidents on hand all said they are confident they can raise the 25 percent private portion for each of their projects.

McCall said the proposal is “a perfect example of a public-private partnership and builds upon the strong connections our colleges have forged with their local business communities.” He said the debt won’t add to the cost of an education “in any meaningful way.”

Beshear said the construction proposal was a way to soften the impact of ongoing cuts to higher education. State funding for higher education has been cut 15 percent over the past six years and the governor is proposing another 2.5 percent cut for next year.

Tuition for KCTCS students this year is $144 per credit hour per student or $2,160 for 15 hours. That same student will have to pay an additional $60 next fall to cover the first $4 installment on the construction fee, making his tuition $2260 if tuition stays the same. The following year, he would have a $120 fee on top of tuition or a total of $2,280.

McCall and Dr. Robert King, President of the Council for Postsecondary Education, said no decision has been made about increasing tuition at community colleges next year. Data kept by the CPE indicates tuition at KCTCS campuses has increased 25.2 percent since Fiscal Year 2007/08 at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent.

During that same period, tuition at the state’s four-year public institutions has increased 36.9 percent or an annualized rate of 5.4 percent. Those data don’t include the multiple student fees charged by the four-year institutions.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
State News
  • Healthcare signup in state extended

    While the national health exchange established by the Affordable Care Act — known to some as Obamacare — suffered glitches, crashes and delays, the Kentucky-run exchange, Kynect, was often used as a national model.

    April 4, 2014

  • Kentucky budget passed with little debate

    The Kentucky General Assembly, divided between chambers along party lines, overwhelmingly passed a $20-billion, new two-year budget not only on time but with almost no debate.

    April 1, 2014

  • Lawmakers agree on snow bill

    Kentucky school officials, parents and students finally have what they’ve been asking for: A bill to allow them to get out of school before the summer fully sets in, even if they don’t make up some of the days they missed during the severe winter.

    March 31, 2014

  • Tensions rise during budget negotiations

    Tensions increased Friday between the Republican Senate and Democratic House over continuing negotiations on a new, two-year budget. It even got personal at times.

    March 31, 2014

  • Kentucky Power plan a potential landscape-changer

    Electrical ratepayers, local governments and those employed in the coal industry might have a hard time understanding the complicated transaction through which Kentucky Power Company is purchasing half the generating capacity of a coal-fired West Virginia plant.

    March 28, 2014 2 Stories

  • Senate passes budget with no locked-in gas tax hikes

    The state Senate on Tuesday passed its version of a two-year revenue measure, and unlike the House version, it does not lock in gas tax increases.

    March 26, 2014

  • House passes bill aimed at saving Big Sandy Plant

    Backers of a bill to require the Kentucky Public Service Commission to “reconsider” its previous order approving Kentucky Power’s purchase of a West Virginia generator say all they are asking “is for them to take a second look and look at all the facts.”

    March 26, 2014 1 Story

  • Judge: Companies can’t use eminent domain for pipeline project

    Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Tuesday ruled that companies building a natural gas liquids pipeline across parts of Kentucky cannot invoke eminent domain to force private property owners to provide easements.

    March 26, 2014

  • Still no snow day solution from lawmakers

    Senate and House negotiators, working on a bill to give school districts flexibility in making up snow days, each accused the other of moving the goal posts – but it’s the local school districts who may be penalized.

    March 25, 2014

  • Senate sets budget with ‘wiggle room’

    It was no surprise the Republican-controlled Kentucky state Senate altered the $20 billion, two-year state budget approved by the Democratic-controlled House, but there may have been a few who were surprised by how little it was changed.

    March 25, 2014