UK held a forum Friday to explain to students the reasons behind a 9 per cent increase in tuition.
A nearly empty auditorium for the forum might suggest that students are simply resigned to paying more, but those who did attend were looking to the future.
Ashley Collette told 27 NEWSFIRST, "I'm actually graduating so it's not so much for me personally but for other students in Kentucky. My little brother is a freshman at UK, and just for my family in general, the raise in tuition is really cutting in financially on top of everything else that's going on in our country."
The speakers at the forum came armed with plenty of graphs and data to support the claim that UK is simply doing what it has to do to survive.
Angie Martin, Vice President of Budget, Policy and Planning at UK, says, "With the state appropriations going down, we had really no choice but to increase tuition, and it is a shared responsibility between the state and the student."
In 1994, more than 500 UK students walked out of their classes and disrupted traffic to protest what was essentially a $40 tuition hike. Obviously, the stakes are much higher today.
Martin says the 9 per cent increase at UK translates to an additional $320. She presented evidence showing why it's so important that UK reach its stated goal of becoming a top 20 research institution, but students want to know how it can be so important if the education provided isn't as accessible to Kentuckians.
Ashley Collette says, "We're already number 24 as a research institution. but we're not in the top 100 in educating undergraduates. I don't understand how the top 20 plan is benefiting students at all."
But at least UK is in good company in this economic mess. Angie Martin says, "This is a real problem not only for Kentucky but many states across the country, and we're all struggling with it."