A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KCTCS widens cost gap with state’s public universities, making education more affordable

The gap between the cost to attend one of the 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the state’s public universities has widened. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting, the KCTCS Board of Regents received a report that showed the net price (tuition and fees, books and supplies and average living expenses minus federal, state and institutional aid) of attending a two-year college dropped from 54.3% (2015-16) of the average state four-year university price to 44.4 percent in 2016-17. 

“Providing Kentuckians with an affordable education that is less than half the cost of the average four-year institution in the state is one of our primary goals,” stated KCTCS Board of Regents Chair Marcia Roth.  “This ten point drop is an incredible accomplishment and should open the doors for even more students to better their lives by getting some type of college credential.”

The net price of attending a KCTCS college full-time in 2016-17 was $6,328 compared to $19,361 for the University of Kentucky, $17,008 for the University of Louisville and $11,817 for Western Kentucky University. In fact, the net price for KCTCS dropped 4.2 percent between 2013-13 and 2016-17.  During the same period all of the state’s four-year universities’, except Kentucky State University, net price increased. 

The board also received an update about Project Go, a program designed to provide a safety net for at-risk students by providing support with non-academic issues such as food insecurities, childcare, transportation, and mental health. 

Each KCTCS college received a grant that allows them to create or expand partnerships with local community agencies to provide services their students need to be successful and complete college.

“For many of our students, life issues are the number one barrier for attending and completing college,” said Roth.

“Making college affordable is only one piece of the puzzle and Project Go provides another important piece for those students most at-risk.”

The board also received positive results from the organization’s annual independent financial audit for the fiscal year 2017-18. 

The opinion issued by Crowe LLP was an “unmodified opinion,” the best type of report offered by public accounting firms. KCTCS has received an unmodified opinion every year since its inception in 1998.  They also received an update on the number of grants received during the current academic year.  As of November 15, KCTCS colleges have received $52,217,167 in grants and contracts (excluding federal financial aid).

The awards included one for Gateway Community and Technical College ($440,745) – Title III Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The next KCTCS Board of Regents meeting will be March 15, 2019 at the KCTCS System Office in Versailles.

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