"What I'm going to tell the college presidents is that the legislature expects better management and better results," Stumbo said.The Herald-Leader is reporting those comments and more from the weekly press conference shared by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams.
State lawmakers are looking to balance a $1.2 billion budget shortfall with a 2 percent cut to public universities and colleges in 2011 and flat funding in 2012. The move would save the state about $40 million over the biennium.
Stumbo said if the legislature restores funding to higher education, "We ought to make them hold the tuition levels at the same levels that they are right now" and require them to improve their graduation rates.
"We don't have standards of performance in higher education now, and that needs to change," he said.
The Speaker may have a point. The HigherEdInfo website offers comparative data suggesting that there's room for improvement in our system. For example, it shows Kentucky postsecondary funding as relatively strong among the states, with graphs that show us as:
- 15th in state and local revenue per full-time equivalent student.
- 11th in total revenue per full-time equivalent student.
- 23rd in the share of higher education operating revenue provided by students and their families.
- 34th in percent of full-time students completing an associate degree in three years.
- 35th in percent or full-time students completing a bachelor degree in six years.