Recent cuts to Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and Kinship Care are part of a broader set of cuts to child care and early childhood education programs, despite solid evidence that we actually need more investment in these areas.
Kentucky's cuts to investment in public universities and colleges have driven up tuition, threatened educational quality and made it harder for the state to build an economy that relies on a well-educated workforce. Those cuts are part of a nationwide trend, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
There is no question that greater levels of education are associated with higher wages and employment rates in Kentucky, and employment has been declining among those with less than a college degree in recent years. However, median wages have been stagnant for Kentuckians at all education levels over the last ten years—suggesting that our problems with job quality are more complex than just a skills gap.
With Kentucky working to increase college graduation rates, the state should invest more in support strategies that can help disadvantaged Kentucky adults and other students obtain the degrees and credentials that are necessary for family well-being and economic growth.
Progress in higher education is essential to building a strong economy, an informed citizenry, and a higher quality of life. However, the cost of higher education is a growing challenge for Kentucky families. This fact sheet highlights the key information on higher education affordability in the Commonwealth.
Kentucky still has a long way to go to meet the ambitious educational attainment goals set by the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997. In a recent report by the Council on Postsecondary Education, which details the state’s progress toward meeting these goals in 2010-2011, Kentucky fell short in several indicators of the gaps between disadvantaged and other students.
Postsecondary education is increasingly recognized as an important means of improving the economy and increasing the financial well-being of individuals and families. But given Kentucky’s serious educational challenges, the state must start early in the education pipeline—including with a major focus on efforts that help adults obtain basic education, make the transition to higher education and then acquire a credential or degree.
Those with higher education fared better in the recession and are more likely to obtain the new jobs being created in the recovery. However, those new jobs tend to pay lower wages than the jobs that were eliminated during the downturn.
A new report by the Brookings Institution makes the case for overhauling state financial aid grant programs to focus on “students whose chances of enrolling and succeeding in college will be most improved by the receipt of state support.” Brookings suggests that financial aid should target students with the greatest financial need—particularly those from low- and moderate-income families—while also tying that aid to advancement toward a college degree.
Education cannot solve all of our economic problems, as the many college-educated young people now unemployed and underemployed can attest. But low levels of educational attainment are an important reason for Kentucky’s economic challenges. A more skilled and educated citizenry is critical to building a Kentucky economy and society that can flourish.
Kentucky has set high goals and taken great strides in improving educational achievement and degree attainment rates. However, the 2013-2014 state budget will make progress difficult over the next two years given its cuts in per-student funding for both P-12 and higher education.
In its final days of negotiating a new budget, a sticking point between the House and the Senate is whether to include new dollars for the expansion of pre-school. The governor had proposed $15 million in 2014 for 4,400 new preschool slots for four year-olds, and the House put in $7.5 million for half that many openings. However, the Senate included no new money for pre-school.
The barriers to affordable higher education--especially for low-income Kentuckians--will continue to grow under a budget that cuts funding to postsecondary institutions and limits need-based financial aid.
A decade of state budget cuts in higher education, rising tuition, underfunded need-based financial aid and stagnating incomes are combining to make college less affordable in Kentucky. Student debt is on the rise, and Kentucky's college students--particularly low-income and adult students--face significant challenges in paying for college. The state needs a new commitment to college affordability for all its citizens.
The recession and weak recovery of the last few years have meant less revenue for the state budget, and the legislature has responded with cuts to many services. The state has not spared education in those cuts. Federal emergency education aid has helped blunt the impact, but the end of that federal support in a still-weak economy presents a real challenge to Kentucky’s education system.