After hearing various university presidents utter dire warnings about the effects of Governor Bevin’s college budget, we decided to do some digging ourselves. We wondered about the KSU cuts, and if this historically black college was targeted. We wondered about the UK cuts, and how bad they really were. And we wondered if the numbers would tell us anything, or provide any answers.
Having dug into the numbers, we’ve got two questions.
- Is Governor Bevin’s higher education budget racist?
- Is Governor Bevin’s higher education budget equitable?
We’ll tackle the first question in this article, and the second question in a future article. Let’s get started.
The Raw Numbers
Here is a table taken straight from the Governor’s budget document. With all the big numbers, it’s not very helpful or clear. I’m including it so that if you want, you can work with the raw numbers just as we did.
|FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018||FY 2017||FY 2018|
|Eastern Kentucky University||363,671,300||376,404,100||386,276,400||367,433,800||353,842,500|
|Kentucky State University||62,236,100||66,880,100||67,680,100||58,541,000||52,441,100|
|Morehead State University||255,530,200||267,835,800||276,515,100||262,243,400||256,097,700|
|Murray State University||189,284,900||198,450,700||205,824,500||192,149,600||182,991,400|
|Northern Kentucky University||236,415,800||250,235,900||261,177,900||243,768,600||234,350,800|
|University of Kentucky||3,355,808,700||3,673,155,300||4,010,850,900||3,629,806,400||3,864,587,500|
|University of Louisville||1,221,311,500||1,263,023,000||1,301,441,600||1,241,451,000||1,228,670,200|
|Western Kentucky University||393,205,800||408,119,900||419,674,800||398,290,600||382,390,000|
|Kentucky Community and Technical College System||879,557,000||927,190,500||967,375,900||898,556,100||869,654,500|
Here’s a much more helpful table, using percentages. It shows the difference in Governor Bevin’s proposed budget for 2017 and 2018 from both the current level of spending, and the requested levels of spending. In other words, it compares what the Governor budgeted both to the current budget, and to the budgets the schools requested.
For example, the Gov’s budget as proposed actually gives EKU a slight increase from their current budget in 2017, and a 2.7% decrease from their current budget in 2018. As far as what EKU actually requested for those two years, the Governor’s budget cuts their requests by 2.38% and 8.4%, respectively. So, EKU gets a slight bump in budget in 2017, but then a cut below current levels in 2018. And, if EKU’s requests reflected higher enrollment, their budget-per-student will be worse than these numbers.
|Eastern Kentucky University||1.03%||-2.70%||-2.38%||-8.40%|
|Kentucky State University||-5.94%||-15.74%||-12.47%||-22.52%|
|Morehead State University||2.63%||0.22%||-2.09%||-7.38%|
|Murray State University||1.51%||-3.32%||-3.18%||-11.09%|
|Northern Kentucky University||3.11%||-0.87%||-2.58%||-10.27%|
|University of Kentucky||8.16%||15.16%||-1.18%||-3.65%|
|University of Louisville||1.65%||0.60%||-1.71%||-5.59%|
|Western Kentucky University||1.29%||-2.75%||-2.41%||-8.88%|
|Kentucky Community and Technical College System||2.16%||-1.13%||-3.09%||-10.10%|
Kentucky State University
So, right off the bat, you see that Kentucky State is getting clobbered. They are the only university to get an actual CUT in the 2017 budget from their CURRENT amount, not their requested, and they get cut even further in 2018 from their CURRENT funding levels, much less their requested amounts. So, the obvious question: Is the Bevin higher ed budget racist, in either intent or in effect?
Well, it certainly LOOKS that way. But let’s put one more table on the table, as it were.
|2013 Enrollment||2016 Budget
|Eastern Kentucky University||16,111||22,573||23,363||23,976||22,806||21,963|
|Kentucky State University||2,533||24,570||26,404||26,719||23,111||20,703|
|Morehead State University||11,358||22,498||23,581||24,345||23,089||22,548|
|Murray State University||10,943||17,297||18,135||18,809||17,559||16,722|
|Northern Kentucky University||15,283||15,469||16,373||17,089||15,950||15,334|
|University of Kentucky||29,385||114,201||125,001||136,493||123,526||131,516|
|University of Louisville||22,529||54,211||56,062||57,767||55,105||54,537|
|Western Kentucky University||20,456||19,222||19,951||20,516||19,471||18,693|
|Kentucky Community and Technical College System||92,365||9,523||10,038||10,473||9,728||9,415|
This table takes the lump state appropriation and divides it by the number of students enrolled, using the latest data I could find. I know that this is a somewhat simplistic approach, but perhaps it can show us something. (Throw out, for the moment, the UK and UofL numbers, because they are obviously meaningless in this context. I would like to understand their overall budgets better, but for now we will move on.)
So, you can see that on a raw per-student basis, KSU is spending more than any of the other state schools outside the UK/UofL numbers. Their 2017 and 2018 requests took that even further, while what the Governor’s budget actually allocates in 2017 moves them back into rough alignment with the others. So, Governor, if you want to use this argument as to why your cuts of KSU aren’t racist in effect, then you can probably make that case.
But, Governor, can you then explain the 2018 number? Why, if you’ve tried to move KSU’s per-student number to roughly equal with the others, do you then cut it another $3,000 per student? Can you explain why you have cut KSU’s overall budget by over 15% from 2016 to 2018? I really don’t want to believe that your goal is to cripple this school, or close it completely – but that is going to be the effect.
The point of this part of the analysis is clear:
Governor, you need to explain what you are trying to do to KSU.
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