Government officials talk about UPIKE study

By: Maisie Insko Email
By: Maisie Insko Email

A couple weeks ago Governor Beshear ordered a review to be done on the University of Pikeville to see if it would be feasible to add it to the state system. So what exactly are they looking for?

A spokeswoman for Governor Beshear says the governor is looking to see if the benefits of making UPIKE a state university outweigh the concerns.

"Schools tend to attract students who live nearby and so if you have an opportunity to educate students near their hometown they will stay there. But we have to look at the impact on other schools and universities if it were to expand and whether the plan would advance the goals of the Post Secondary Improvement Act from 1997." says Beshear representative, Kerri Richardson.

But one legislator says he is not going to wait to hear the results of that study.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has worked steadily on a bill that covers everything down to the way the university would be funded; his suggestion is to use coal severance money.

"That money would go into a fund, it will roll forward and the projections would fund for at least 10 years down the road." says Speaker Stumbo.

Senate President David Williams agrees this would impact the Pike County area in positive ways but he also says any college trying to become a state university could make that point.

"The argument will be for those other places that do not have four year universities or from those that do but are not properly funded." Williams says.

As of now, Richardson does not know how much it will cost to conduct the study on the University of Pikeville. She says they will have a better idea once the contract is awarded to those doing the study.

Speaker Stumbo says the university has agreed to turn over all of their buildings, which is valued near two million dollars, to the state in order to receive the severance funding. He expects the bill to be brought up in this session General Assembly.

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