"While our university presidents appear before legislative committees begging for lawmakers to let them have more taxpayer money to build pretty new buildings, Kentucky families have to dig deeper into their pockets to be able to afford a college education for their children. If university leaders can't control their own costs, then the legislature needs to do it for them."
Cothran said his group favors both tuition caps and budget cuts for four-year public universities. "These are the two ways our universities take advantage of taxpayers," Cothran said. "State legislators need to lay down the law and tell our institutions of higher learning that they need to get their houses in order before they come begging for more taxpayer money."
The report, titled "Kentucky Higher Education Access," argues that increasing taxpayer support for education will not bring college tuitions down, since such subsidies are quickly eaten up by tuition increases. It also finds that cost increases at state colleges and universities are rising at more than twice the rate of median household incomes.
The report includes three findings:
- Higher education costs have been rising nationally faster than any other sector in the economy, including health care.
- Although taxpayers have diligently supported state institutions of higher education, affordability—and therefore access—has declined and the responsibility lies within the institutions themselves.
- Higher education costs as a percentage of household income in Kentucky have continued to increase.
The report was authored by Robert Martin, a professor emeritus at Centre College in Danville.