State education officials are saying Eastern Kentucky needs to make higher education a priority, but after coal severance money cuts, one Eastern Kentucky school could be in trouble.
Some students are getting college credit at the University Center of the Mountains which offers bachelor and master degrees to Eastern Kentuckians in a partnership with other colleges across the Commonwealth. Director Ron Daley says the education opportunities for the region are in trouble.
"We value education as much as everyone else, we've just not been given that access to the post secondary education," Daley said.
Daley says UCM fills that need for access, but now that the center has lost coal severance money for funding. The center has to operate on a smaller budget, but Governor Fletcher says he is very supportive of higher education for the mountains
"I would hope that the local magistrates and things, when they put in their projects, that's something that's very important," Governor Fletcher said.
The president of the Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education was in Hazard Friday to encourage the region to work on bettering education opportunities.
"We've got huge problems getting students to understand the importance of staying in high school, graduating and going on getting the right kind of training," said Tom Layzell with the Council on Postsecondary Education.
"We want the legislators, the governor, and the governor's cabinet, all to get on board and say we need to make plans to bring more post secondary education to our rural areas," Daley said.
Daley says they are applying for grants to provide the education opportunities the region deserves.
Ron Daley says the University Center of the Mountains has hoped to receive more funding in the future. The school is also trying to expand their technology opportunities to include distance learning for their students.