Interim Joint Committee on Education


Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 3rd Meeting

of the 2008 Interim


<MeetMDY1> November 17, 2008


The<MeetNo2> third meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> November 17, 2008, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Representative Carl Rollins II, Representatives Jim DeCesare, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Jim Glenn, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, and Addia Wuchner.


Guests:  Dr. Richard Crofts, Interim President, Council on Postsecondary Education; Dr. Kumble Subbaswamy, Provost, University of Kentucky; Dr. James Votruba, President, Northern Kentucky University; Dr. Michael B. McCall, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College; Dr. Mary Evans Sias, President, Mr. Steve Mason, and Ms. Claudine Gee, Kentucky State University.


LRC Staff:  Audrey Carr and Lisa Moore.


Representative Rollins said the subcommittee will discuss how institutions are coping with state funding shortfalls and how tuition increases impact student affordability and access to college. He introduced Dr. Richard Crofts, Interim President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), to share information about how universities are coping with their current financial situations.


Dr. Crofts said most university presidents have used the budget planning process to absorb the very large, original cuts of 12 percent. After the cut was diminished, instead of putting the money back where it was, the presidents used those plans to reallocate resources to strategic priorities. He said this was a very wise and commendable move on their part.


Dr. Crofts said the CPE charged him with developing a new tuition setting process for the 2009-2010 academic year, which the CPE approved this on November 7, 2008. He said five basic assumptions were made in the process: 1) tuition decisions should be well aligned with state goals for postsecondary education; 2) the rationale for those decisions should be publicly stated and understood and there should be ample opportunity to receive input from stakeholders on the rationale for reaching tuition decisions; 3) there is no need to assume that tuition increases should be the same for all of Kentucky’s higher institutions of learning; 4) the CPE should have to take into account the impact of state funding decisions and previous tuition decisions; and 5) this should be an iterative process stretched out over several months so that the CPE, the public, and elected officials can give full and open consideration to tuition decisions before they are finally enacted.


Dr. Croft said universities will be asked to report on a variety of different subjects. They have provided the first report, which was the impact of previous funding decisions on institutional operations. The reports are provided in the meeting materials. He said the CPE will also ask universities for information about how they have tried to manage costs as well as any additional steps taken for efficiency. He said universities will be asked to report the basis for tuition discussion in terms of increases in fixed costs and how much revenue a given tuition rate will increase how that revenue will be used. Finally, universities will be asked to provide reports on what they are doing to increase productivity.


Dr. Crofts said in addition to the reports, the CPE will be paying close attention to issues of affordability. Several factors will be taken into consideration such as the level of student debt, which is currently placed around $17,000, which he feels is too high. He said a reasonable amount of debt that students should have to pay back needs to be identified and enforced. The CPE will analyze available resources for need-based aid and merit-based aid. He said there have been significant increases in financial aid through state programs, but the increases are flattening out. Finally, the CPE will look at comparing Kentucky’s tuition rates to other comparable states and other comparable institutions. He also said the CPE will look at the marker of the percentage of the average family income to use as another comparative figure.


Representative Rollins introduced Dr. Kumble Subbaswamy, Provost, University of Kentucky (UK) to give the first university report. Dr. Subbaswamy said UK’s sole focus the last two years has been on becoming a top 20 research university and the budget cuts have affected UK’s long-term planning. He said in 1997, the General Assembly gave a mandate to UK to become a major comprehensive research institution ranked nationally in the top 20 public universities by 2020.


Dr. Subbaswamy said most top 20 universities have a median household income, and a population of people with a bachelor’s degree, higher than the national average. Kentucky ranks lower in those categories than the national average. He noted if Kentucky’s state government spent the same percentage of the gross state product on healthcare as the average of the top 20 states, it would realize a saving of over $1 billion annually in state healthcare expenses. He believes UK should pursue the goal of becoming a top 20 university.


Dr. Subbaswamy discussed UK’s business plan. He said UK will pay 40 percent of the cost through cost reallocation, fundraising, indirect cost recovery, and hospital revenues. He noted since 2001, UK has captured over $88 million in costs saved and costs avoided. He gave several examples of ways that UK has saved money. These are located in the meeting materials in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) library.


Dr. Subbaswamy discussed undergraduate education issues in comparison with the average top 20 universities. He said students ACT/SAT scores in top 20 universities average around 1248. Students attending UK have average scores of 1096. UK’s student to faculty ratio is 17 to 1, and top 20 universities tend to have student to faculty ratios of 15 to 1. He noted UK’s retention rate is 81.0 percent, and a top 20 institution is 92.0 percent. UK’s graduation rate is 61.4 percent compared to a top 20 institution rate of 77.5 percent.


Dr. Subbaswamy said the $20 million cut attributed to: eliminating 71 faculty positions and 117 staff positions; no salary increases for staff; and a cut of operating expenses by $3.7 million. This in turn causes reduced hours of operation of student computer labs, exercise facilities, and the student center; reduced individual student sessions in the counseling and testing center; reduced student support services provided by the Teaching and Academic Support Center; reduced libraries’ materials budget; reduced student travel budgets; delayed replacement of computers and other equipment; and delayed masters programs in Environmental Studies and Clinical and Translational Sciences.


Dr. Subbaswamy said UK is experiencing higher enrollments and more degrees, but still they are far less than top 20 universities. UK has an undergraduate enrollment of 18,995 and a top 20 university averages 27,261. UK averages 3,775 bachelor’s degrees, and top 20 universities average 6,299.


Dr. Subbaswamy said the preliminary fall data for 2008 shows record numbers of enrollment for the following groups: undergraduate applications – 11,120, up 4.7 percent; African-American freshmen – 341, up 32 percent; Governor’s Scholars/Governor’s School for the Arts Scholars freshmen – 389, up 12 percent; and transfer enrollment increased by nearly 100 students – to 940.


Dr. Subbaswamy said UK now has 1,998 faculty members but has lost 71 faculty positions. He said top 20 universities average 2,724 faculty members, so UK needs to be adding positions and not eliminating them. He noted the 71 faculty lines lost equaled $10.6 million in external research funding lost.


Dr. Subbaswamy said UK’s current state appropriation is $13.8 million and is 4.6 percent higher than in 2001-2002. He said since 2001, UK has generated over $88 million in savings and absorbed five mid-year budget reductions. He said 86 percent of UK’s academic budget is personnel and if another budget reduction were to occur, cuts would have to be made to crucial services, programs, and people. He noted UK and research universities are a good return on investment for state dollars. UK takes in $300 million in state contributions and turns it into a $2 billion expenditure stream.


Representative Glenn asked if there was a copy of the PowerPoint available. Education staff made copies and distributed to members.


Representative Rollins asked if UK had met the goal of paying for 40 percent of the cost of the business plan through revenue generated by the university and through costs saved and avoided. Dr. Summaswamy said UK actually exceeded that amount in the first year of the previous biennium when it received six percent from the state. He explained UK only met the goal for one year because the budget cuts were implemented immediately after the increase.


Representative Rollins asked if UK could improve retention rates if students were better academically qualified. Dr. Summaswamy said there is a correlation and retention does improve with better prepared students. He does not see UK’s mission as becoming highly selective in the students it accepts to the school.


Representative Rollins asked if the $10.6 million lost in external research funding because of the cuts in faculty is a hard number that can be backed up by proof. Dr. Subbaswamy said it is an average, and could be more or less, but the number is a robust and conservative estimate.


Representative Rollins asked what internal reports UK uses to manage the efficiency of the faculty. Dr. Subbaswamy said there is annual distribution of effort for each teacher and an evaluation system tied to salary increments. He also said there are goals set for each department and top 20 metrics applied to track how they are doing. Representative Rollins asked if top 20 metrics determine the measurement of what it takes to be a top 20 university. Dr. Subbaswamy said it is objective criteria and not subjective.


Representative Miller asked if the faculty to student ratio of 17 to 1 increased after the loss of faculty. Dr. Subbaswamy said the new number will not be calculated until census numbers are released, but he expects a high faculty to student ratio in the next reporting cycle.


Representative Meeks said he is concerned that there is no Plan B. He said the General Assembly continues to make demands on the universities, while giving them mid-year budget adjustments that make long-range planning impossible. He believes Kentucky should focus on a Plan B in light of the economic times.


Dr. Subbaswamy said UK takes the mandate of becoming a top 20 research university by 2020 very seriously. He said the timeline may need to be adjusted as a result of the economic fluctuations and the lack of ability to make investments, but suggested keeping the noble goals in place.


Representative DeCesare would like to see the number of tuition increases, raises, etc. during the same seven year period in order to compare data. He agrees that there should be a Plan B because business plans change with budgetary times. He hopes to come up with a Plan B that does not alter the goals significantly.


Representative Farmer said it appears UK has as good or better research on the top 20 institutions than itself. He said the top 20 university numbers is a moving target and is not constant. He asked if the other institutions are experiencing the same kind of funding cuts and having to absorb similar cuts as UK, or whether their levels of funding remain constant allowing them to move at a much faster rate.


Dr. Subbaswamy said UK updates the reports and fluctuations annually because it is constantly changing. He said the current economic downtown is affecting all the states, but Kentucky is one of only two or three states that have received budget cuts as high as six percent. He said UK is looking at second successive mid-year cuts, while other universities are looking at their first set of budget cuts in recent years. He also noted the other universities with which UK is competing have never suffered mid-year cuts to the magnitude that UK has over the last seven years.


  Representative Meeks asked how many changes have occurred in the last seven or eight years in those top 20 schools. Dr. Subbaswamy said the lower third or so show some movement, but the top 10 schools generally remain the same with slight changes in order.


Representative Rollins asked how many academic programs have been eliminated at UK. Dr. Subbaswamy said when Dr. Lee Todd arrived at UK in 2001, there was a vast restructuring and elimination of programs, which resulted in a $18 million savings. He said if there are more budget cuts, the elimination of programs would be imminent.


Representative Rollins introduced Dr. James Votruba, President, Northern Kentucky University (NKU), to give an update on NKU’s strategies for coping with the current financial situation. Dr. Votruba said these are difficult times from one end of the Commonwealth to the other and national economists believe the recession is here to stay at least 18 months to 2 years. Therefore, he would like to communicate what NKU is doing to weather the storm rather than discuss the budget cuts which are outlined in the meeting materials.


Dr. Votruba said the overall decrease in net state general appropriations for operating expenses totals $2.8 million. In total, NKU cut $7.3 million, or 6.3 percent, from division base budgets and reallocated $4.5 million to high priority goals and previously committed obligations. These cuts included the elimination of 25 staff positions, roughly 3 percent of NKU’s staff position base. Total public funds for fiscal year 2008-2009 are $13.2 million short of the business plan funding requirements  an 8 percent shortfall in funds.


Dr. Votruba said NKU’s goal is to create more than 50,000 new high paying jobs in Kentucky and return more than $270 million in incremental new Kentucky tax revenue. He said NKU is not giving up on the business plan, but putting it on hold and forming a Plan B.


Dr. Votruba said NKY has established a President’s Advisory Committee on Efficiencies and Savings to coordinate the implementation of initiatives to be good stewards of limited resources. The committee is in the process of evaluating over 100 ideas that have been submitted by faculty, staff, and students to maximize service delivery at less cost.


Dr. Votruba said NKU continues to realize significant savings through effective energy management. He said NKU has invested in energy savings such as lighting retrofit projects and improvements in HVAC. Overall, since 2005, the university has invested $3.5 million in energy savings projects realizing an annual energy savings of $600,000 a year.

Dr. Votruba said they have scheduled the closing of the university’s Covington campus and negotiated a lease for classroom space for the Adult Learning PACE program from Gateway Community and Technical College. This measure is expected to avoid significant maintenance expenses.


Dr. Votruba said NKU has partnered with the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky to provide faculty, staff, and students free bus service on TANK buses reducing the escalation of costly parking space on campus, while providing more affordable transportation options to its students.


Dr. Votruba said to reduce benefit costs, NKU will continue to build the university’s Wellness Program, as well as selected a new healthcare insurance provider, saving over $500,000.


Dr. Votruba said the significant budgets cuts have had its consequences. He said NKU will not be able to address all the community needs in order to remain competitive and support the regional plan for economic competitiveness called “Vision 2015.” He said the comprehensive plan to support the “Vision 2015” business plan is on hold, but it has not been eliminated. He said enrollment growth will be placed on hold for the time being, even though enrollment demand at NKU is at record levels.


Dr. Votruba said work will be ramped up with P-12 education. In these tight budget times, difficult decisions will have to be made and he believes less investment should be made in remediating students in things that they should have learned in high school. He said this is a good thing, but is a change in the way business is normally conducted. He also said regional stewardship efforts will be focused more directly on economic growth and P-12 enhancement.

Dr. Votruba said NKU is 65 percent tuition dependent and this is the highest among Kentucky’s public universities. He agreed that one size does not fit all and NKU has been very aggressive setting tuition rates and in providing need-based financial aid.


Representative Glenn asked Dr. Votruba for information concerning the urban scholarship program that NKU offers. Dr. Votruba said it is called the “last dollar program” and he will get the information to Representative Glenn. He noted the program had increased student urban enrollment by 40 to 50 percent. He also said NKU staff went on-site to urban schools to help students and their parents complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms. He said the return on this modest investment proved to be fairly large.


Representative Glenn asked about NKU’s collaboration with the P-12 programs on remediation. Dr. Votruba said NKU’s provost is currently working with all the Northern Kentucky school districts to design math, reading, writing, and science remediation programs. NKU has given notice to school superintendents that students will not be accepted into the university and remediated at the same rates as previous years. He said this will be a hard lesson for high schools to accept, but feels this is the right direction as too many students have to be remediated in college.


Representative Rollins asked if Gateway Community and Technical College is involved with the P-12 coordination. Dr. Votruba said Gateway is involved and the change in NKU’s student enrollment policy has been communicated to its staff. He feels many transfer students will end up enrolling at Gateway Community College due to the change. He also said Gateway is close to obtaining their SACS accreditation, which will help NKU and the region as well.


Representative Rollins asked Dr. Votruba how many transfer students NKU accepts from the community college system. Dr. Votruba said about 100 total and 30 or 40 students from Gateway Community College. He feels Gateway’s accreditation should increase the number of students transferring to NKU from the school. He also said NKU has a web-based program that is used as a recruiting tool statewide for an undergraduate completer program with the Kentucky Community College and Technical System (KCTCS).


Representative Rollins introduced Dr. Michael B. McCall, President, KCTCS, to give an update on how the budget cuts have affected KCTCS.         Dr. McCall said KCTCS is the state’s primary provider of workforce education and training, and is essential to the global competitiveness of business and industry and the economic development of the Commonwealth. With the expected loss of thousands of highly skilled workers who will reach retirement age over the next 10 years, combined with the need for more highly skilled workers to keep business and industry on the competitive edge, the KCTCS plan focuses on expanding existing programs and creating new programs to meet the projected openings in high growth, high wage jobs called for by the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment and the Cabinet for Economic Development.


Dr. McCall said KCTCS provides a low cost, accessible pathway for the majority of Kentuckians to pursue a baccalaureate degree. The KCTCS plan focuses on eliminating barriers to KCTCS students transferring to Kentucky’s four-year colleges and universities in order to achieve 11,334 transfer students (based on the CPE definition of transfer students) from a CPE headcount enrollment goal of 115,800 KCTCS students in 2020.


Dr. McCall said another major initiative of KCTCS is to address the remediation needs of Kentucky students. The KCTCS plan focuses on the following three initiatives: implement early student intervention strategies in collaboration with school districts to better prepare high school students entering KCTCS; offer remediation services to all KCTCS students who enroll with a demonstrated need for remediation in order to successfully complete college-level courses; and assume the primary role in providing adult education and literacy program and services as seamless pathways to postsecondary education.


Dr. McCall said the budget appropriation for calendar year 2008 has been reduced by two consecutive three percent budget reductions, which is equivalent to a little over $13.5 million below the original 2007-2008 budget amount. He said there have been six budget reduction cuts over the last ten years and this had made long-range planning very difficult.


 Dr. McCall said the KCTCS tuition increase was the lowest that was approved by any higher education institution this year. He said the only public funds that KCTCS utilizes are state appropriations and tuition and fees. He said tuition has increased drastically over ten years, but KCTCS was left with no choice after ten budget cuts but to supplement fees on the backs of students.


Dr. McCall said enrollment has declined from 92,828 to 89,940 in the fall of 2008. Other changes in personnel, programs, and services include: 240 fewer full-time and part-time faculty and staff positions since July 1, 2007 (the 2007-2008 total full-time and part-time faculty and staff was 8,462). These decreases were affected by the colleges’ ability to offer programs, courses, and services to students and businesses. KCTCS also eliminated full academic programs on one or more campuses of 10 colleges; capped enrollment in one or more programs at 12 colleges; offered fewer courses or course sections by 14 colleges; and reduced services to students and businesses at 15 colleges.


Dr. McCall said several cost containment strategies have been implemented over the last ten years. Gateway Community College ended operations on one of its campuses (Highland Heights) and is leasing that campus to NKU. He said Jefferson Community College capped enrollment on its downtown campus and assisted students in enrolling in courses on the college’s other campuses. Somerset Community College discontinued class offerings at Wayne County High School when that school board indicated that it needed to begin charging for use of that space. Owensboro Community and Technical College is no longer operating its libraries on weekends.


Dr. McCall said KCTCS has looked at some resource reallocation strategies. The KCTCS Board of Regents has approved an aggressive plan, the “Plan for a Competitive Commonwealth”, to address House Bill 1 2020 mandates for KCTCS. He said the 2008-2009 funding levels severely limit KCTCS’ ability to address the plan expectations. The 2008-2009 budget approved by the KCTCS Board of Regents allows KCTCS to move forward on plan commitments, although not as fast as originally intended.


Representative Farmer asked if KCTCS included students in high school completing dual enrollment courses in its census. Dr. McCall said they did.


Representative Meeks asked about specific program changes at Jefferson Community College. Dr. McCall said that he did not have the specifics and that Representative Meeks should speak with Dr. Anthony Newberry, President/CEO, of Jefferson Community and Technical College. He did note that the GED testing service would no longer be offered at the downtown campus and he will find out for Representative Meeks if someone else has picked up this testing service.


Representative Siler commended KCTCS for bringing higher education to nontraditional students in many geographic locations. He said many times KCTCS serves as a conduit for these nontraditional students onto higher learning. Dr. McCall said there are currently 67 different higher education centers across the state.


Representative Rollins asked if a new Gateway Community College facility was opened as the Highland Heights location was closed. Dr. McCall said the new location in Mt. Zion was already open before the Highland Heights facility was closed so there is actually one less center open. Representative Rollins said it can be quite a challenge to find some of the facilities and Dr. McCall said an urban facility would be ideal.


Representative Rollins asked about Wayne County High School charging a price for Somerset Community College offering classes at their facility. Dr. McCall said Wayne County High School was going to begin charging a fee for the use of the facility, and KCTCS made the decision to use that faculty somewhere else due to tight budgetary times. Representative Rollins believes empty buildings are not good for anybody and they should be utilized as much as possible. He is concerned because a classroom is a classroom and is owned by the public if located within a public school.


Representative Rollins said the KCTCS virtual learning program is interesting as it can save students money because students can stay home and take courses on-line the first two years and then transfer in. He said it is important for all universities to understand the importance of accepting on-line course grades as standard practice to save students money in attending college. Dr. McCall said the transfer system should be made as seamless as possible because studies have proven that students who transfer into a KCTCS school end up graduating.


Representative Miller asked how many buildings were utilized for the GED testing program that was eliminated. Dr. McCall said the GED testing program occurred in one KCTCS facility, but personnel had to be allocated to classrooms rather than providing the testing service. Representative Miller believes GED testing is important for Kentuckians and should be easily accessible.


Representative Meeks asked about students transferring from community colleges back into four-year colleges and universities. He asked if research was being conducted to find out why more community college students are not transferring into four-year colleges. Dr. McCall said KCTCS is working with the CPE on collecting data on barriers in the transfer system and he will get the information to Representative Meeks.


Representative Embry referred a comment to Dr. Subbaswamy of UK. He said Dr. Subbaswamy pointed out that the average median family income in Kentucky is $12,000 less than the average in the states that produce top 20 colleges and universities. He would like Kentuckians to increase their education levels so they can earn more income. He would also like for the citizens to support the General Assembly in their efforts to support higher education, but at the same time there are other funding areas in need such as Medicaid, healthcare, and Kentucky infrastructure. Dr. Subbaswamy said there are short and long-term problems that will take everyone’s collective wisdom to solve.


Representative Rollins introduced Dr. Mary Evans Sias, President, Kentucky State University (KSU), who updated the committee on the fiscal impact of state budget cutbacks at the university.  She said KSU absorbed $2.2 million in reductions in state appropriations.


Dr. Sias said KSU has taken positive steps to stabilize its budget and eliminate deficits and has revised the strategic plan into five-year increments. She said KSU is reprioritizing the items within the strategic plan and will review the plan on a quarterly basis.                                     


Dr. Sias said KSU has looked at efficiency and effectiveness. She said KSU has saved over $600,000 by making adjustments in staffing, facilities, lighting, and fuel costs. She said the university has consolidated printing to a Xerox copy center and consolidated paper and printing costs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Dr. Sias discussed the budget impact on faculty recruitment. The impact of these budget reductions over the last two years has shifted workloads to fewer staff. She said about six faculty members have been laid off, but most of the attrition has come through not filling positions as people leave them. KSU has experienced unplanned retirements among faculty and staff thus increased dependency on temporary staffing arrangements and inexperienced staff for instruction and support services. The university will be challenged as it seeks qualified faculty and support staff to replace those lost through attrition.


Dr. Sias explained because of KSU’s land grant status, KSU’s appropriation is allocated first to the federal mandate that requires 100 percent state match for federal appropriations. As federal appropriations increase, KSU’s general fund appropriations are adjusted downward to offset any increase in federal appropriations. As a result, fewer state appropriated dollars are available to conduct the university’s primary mission of educating Kentucky students. 


Dr. Sias said $235,000 was realized in savings due to negotiations with a new health care provider. She said KSU was able to keep the same level of payments for health insurance while keeping the same amount of coverage for employees.


Dr. Sias said there was $2.7 million needed for repairs for leaking roofs and a collapsed roof in a dormitory. She said $600,000 was found for repairs, but they still need $1.2 million to complete the repairs. The costs for repair include repairs due to mold and mildew damage as well as water damage. She also said KSU’s boilers need to have emission problems fixed to meet tests required by the Environmental Protection Agency, and if they are not fixed, repairs can cost up to $1.5 to 2 million to be able to get the boiler back in-line.


Dr. Sias said KSU has hired advisors to focus on recruitment and enrollment. She said federal funds are being used for these positions and they are limited to five years. It is critical to use these federal funds for this effort if KSU is to improve its retention and graduation rates. KSU has a high number of students requiring remediation and these students are 50 percent less likely to graduate than other students. She said the whole effort of the university will be put into getting these students graduated.


Dr. Sias said KSU has led the Commonwealth in the percentage of enrollment growth over the past two years. She said they added a new dormitory the last year, but still had to place 61 students in hotels. In order to meet the goals of 2020, more housing space is crucial to the university.


Dr. Sias said KSU is applying for competitive grants and searching for avenues to bring in money through its aquaculture program. She said KSU will be spending its land grant program and federal funds to offer programs through a new School of Agriculture. She noted the land grant dollars are not allowed to be used for programs not based in a school context.


Dr. Sias noted there were no funds available for study abroad for students. She said this study is critical for students to grow and compete in a global economy.


Dr. Sias said revenues in the state are down and KSU has made as many budget cuts as possible. She said KSU incurred an increase of $829,000 in fuel costs over the last year and has taken steps by asking each vice-president to identify five percent budget reductions in order to anticipate future increased fuel costs. She also said KSU will reduce staff, travel, and review each outstanding purchase order to ensure they do not extend payment beyond 90 days. She said KSU is essentially allocating its money in quarter cycles to control expenditures.


Dr. Sias said KSU is the smallest of Kentucky’s comprehensive institutions, but is the only historically black college in the Commonwealth, and only 1 of 105 in the nation. She said part of KSU’s mission is to provide access to opportunity for all of the citizens of the Commonwealth. She noted KSU has led the Commonwealth with respect to transferring and enrolling two-year students into four-year institutions, but the money that provides the transfer scholarships and the recruiter at community colleges to ensure a seamless system is at-risk.


Representative Wuchner said she is concerned about the large percentage of students who need remediation at all universities. She noted that underprepared students in college only have about a 50 percent graduation rate. She asked if the universities are communicating college readiness expectations to the high schools in their areas.


Dr. Sias said KSU is having those dialogues, but it is different for African-American students. She said across the nation, African-American students score lower than Asians, Hispanics, and Whites. She said KSU is working on teacher effectiveness and improving teaching quality and student achievement. She said they work with the high schools through technology to get the students remediated prior to them arriving on campus. She also said KSU is implementing a one-stop student center to get students all the help they need and after hours tutoring in the dormitories.


Representative Wuchner said 81 percent of students entering KSU need remediation and the percentages vary from 30 to 70 percent across the Commonwealth and this is not acceptable. Dr. Sias said KSU plots retention rates by county and communicates to high school principals and counselors feedback on any potential problems with students so that problems can be resolved at the high school level.


Representative Miller commended Dr. Sias on KSU’s efforts to solicit funds from alumni to help support students with tuition, fees, and books. He has not noticed other universities utilizing this tool and said KSU should be a model for this effort. Dr. Sias said KSU made an aggressive effort and alumni are proud of their school and happy to help current students. She noted many students leave KSU due to finances and not because of bad grades.


Representative Meeks said the General Assembly needs to set mandates to high schools about student expectations upon graduation and not leave the responsibility to the universities if this is truly a priority. He asked Dr. Sias to explain the physical damage to the buildings at the university and she did so.


Representative Meeks asked Dr. Sias if KSU has led the state in enrollment increases. Dr. Sias said KSU has led enrollments for the state for the past two years, but it has leveled off this year. She said more students are coming to live on campus and there is an increase in full-time equivalent students and more housing is needed. Representative Meeks mentioned KSU buying a hotel that is for sale in Frankfort. Dr. Sias said KSU is looking at all options, but funds are limited.


Representative Meeks congratulated Dr. Sias on the land grant developing a School of Agriculture. He feels this is a good move that will bring additional support from the federal government. Dr. Sias said they are excited about the new school and mentioned other new programs that they are planning for KSU.


Chairman Rollins said the committee did not have a quorum and the minutes from the August 11, 2008 meeting could not be approved. With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.