Students prepare for potential deep budget cuts
A possible legal fight to protect funding for your child’s education: This, after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin ordered an immediate 4.5 percent cut in state funding for all Kentucky public colleges and universities.
Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear says what the governor is doing is illegal. He’s giving Bevin seven days to reconsider. If he doesn’t, Beshear says he will take legal action.
Over the past few years, West Kentucky Community and Technical College has been setting aside some money in case of an emergency, like a natural disaster. However, because the governor’s order would cut funds to the current fiscal year, the college would have to use that emergency money right now.
Sophomore student David O’Neal says the order is poor planning by the governor.
"I think that it’s unfortunate, you know. The state economy depends on a well-trained workforce, and a 4.5 percent budget cut to the colleges, you know, that’s going to directly impact the future workforce for the state," says O’Neal.
It’s the lack of workforce readiness that O’Neal says will have a huge impact on companies wanting to set up shop in Kentucky.
"I mean, you can’t cut your way to prosperity in the long run, you have to invest and the investment to improve the economy should be in education rather than, you know, where are the cut’s going to go," says O’Neal.
For freshman Sara Hughes, it’s the fear of the unknown.
"You kind of got to think about the scholarships and stuff that have been offered to me previously, you know, what they’re going to be able to provide in the future," says Hughes. "For the students that maybe aren’t on scholarship, what will the price difference be in tuition?"
After Bevin made his announcement, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System sent out a letter to stakeholders saying, "These deep cuts on top of the cuts received over the last seven years, and a tuition shortfall due to declining enrollment, mean people will lose jobs, and programs will be eliminated." The letter says this cut "will increase the need to raise tuition," directly impacting thousands of students.
"I’ll have to make adjustments," says O’Neal. "I don’t know specifically until I know the numbers."
Bevin says the cuts are necessary and, once finances are in order, he says Kentucky will be able to spend more on higher education.