WKU Department of Communication Statement on Proposed State Budget Cuts
As many of you know, Governor Bevin has proposed overwhelming cuts to higher education in Kentucky—4.5% out of the current year and 9% over the next two-year budget (http://tinyurl.com/grdgjfb). University presidents are generally measured in their language during appropriation season, but they have characterized the cuts as “draconian,” “a bombshell,” “shocking,” and “devastating” (http://tinyurl.com/zr8cvba) This attack follows major reductions to public universities that have occurred since the great recession.
As a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, Kentucky’s funding of public universities is already 27.6% per student lower than it was in 2008 (http://tinyurl.com/lvevk9g). Administrators, faculty, and staff at all public universities have worked hard to achieve efficiencies and save taxpayers dollars, but if the next round of cuts passes the legislature, the effects on current and future students in our state will be devastating.
Universities will have little choice but to raise tuition, which will put higher education out of reach for many students and force many students to take on even more student debt (http://tinyurl.com/zr8cvba). Universities will be forced to eliminate programs, fire excellent teachers, and increase class sizes, which will limit opportunities for students and reduce personal contact with teachers.
Furthermore, higher education is an economic engine for states, and by diminishing a higher education system that was gaining ground before the recession, Governor Bevin’s proposal will hurt the economic prospects for our state. If we want to improve the economic prosperity of our state, we should invest in higher education, not cut it.
We encourage friends of the WKU Communication Department to contact your representatives and ask them to fight the proposed cuts and restore funding that has been slashed since the Great Recession. The number for the legislative message line is 1-800-372-7181, or you can visitwww.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm to contact your representative directly. We also encourage you to use social media to share information about the devastating effects the proposal will have on Kentucky’s students and economy. To follow news about higher education funding in Kentucky, visithttp://rhetcompnow.com/hefunding/.
A paper letter via snail mail may be the most effective medium, so please send one!
– Dr. Rob Hale
Head of the WKU Department of English