A state family advocacy group announced Monday it will seek a moratorium on tuition increases at the state's public universities in the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly. The group's announcement came in response to last week's announced tuition increase at the University of Louisville. The group says U of L plans to raise tuition at a level almost three times the current rate of inflation. It says Kentucky has seen several decades in which state universities have dramatically increased the cost of a college education.
"People used to talk about 'working your way through college’," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for the group. "Now they talk about working their way out of their college debt. The cost of a college education in Kentucky is outstripping the ability of families to pay for it. This has to stop."
Cothran pointed to a study The Family Foundation released last year showing that colleges and universities have been increasing tuition at rates that have far outstripped median household incomes, and demonstrating the problem lies in the failure of Kentucky's higher education institutions to control costs. "The state's universities are refusing to run their institutions efficiently and they're passing the cost of that failure on to students, families, and taxpayers."
The failure to control the cost of a college education may be one the state's worst economic problems, said Cothran, since access to a college education is a significant factor in individual economic progress. "Kentucky cannot improve economically if the policies of its economic institutions are dragging it down. Public policymakers in our state cannot allow our educational institutions to stifle economic progress."
Cothran said a moratorium is necessary in order to begin bringing college costs back into alignment with the ability of Kentuckians to pay for it.
“Our institutions of higher education are no longer giving our students a leg up in their professional lives; instead, they're saddling them with debt. This has got to stop.”