The future of your financial journey at UK


The Kentucky State Capitol dome breaks through the morning fog on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Frankfort, Kentucky. Photo by Martha McHaney | Staff

Editorial Board

The future of tuition payments doesn’t look entirely bright. College is downright unaffordable for many, and tuition has increased for the past 10 academic years at the University of Kentucky. 

House Bill 452 would prevent tuition from increasing throughout an individual’s time in college, but is it really noble if the General Assembly is only taking steps to improve something they made wrong in the first place? 

House Bill 452 proposes to amend KRS 164.020 to prohibit the Council on Postsecondary Education from raising tuition for a postsecondary education institution more than 5% a year for resident students and 7% a year for nonresident students; provide a 4-year tuition freeze for an enrolled resident students.”

In Kentucky, tuition rates for public universities are determined by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, which “serves as the state’s chief higher education thought leader and policy advisor to the Governor and General Assembly” according to its website

If the General Assembly and its advisors are, at large, responsible for tuition rates being unmanageable in the first place, it is merely a savior complex that is driving them to file this bill to remedy what they have already done. 

The bill would be helpful in the case of Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money, for example, which is a fixed-rate, merit-based scholarship awarded to students from Kentucky high schools who earned a 2.5 GPA or better in high school. The amount awarded depends on several factors, including standardized test scores. 

In the case of KEES money, students benefit less if the rate of tuition continues to increase throughout their college career, and the scholarship begins to cover less of a percentage of the cost for them to attend college. 

In that sense, no matter how hard students work in high school, they might still end up with a sizable amount of student debt by the time they graduate. 

House Bill 452 would help scholarships to not depreciate in value, but only to an extent. The bill doesn’t prevent tuition from increasing as a whole, but rather prevents a variation in the cost of tuition for an individual from year to year. In this regard, an individual’s percentage of financial support would not be variable throughout their time in college. 

Although not having constant tuition increases throughout one’s college career can help students’ financial planning, the General Assembly is not doing anything noble by filing this bill, even if it passes. They are taking a step in the right direction, not fixing the wreckage of someone else’s choices. 

The General Assembly had the power to remedy the issues happening with the increasingly unaffordable tuition rates at public universities all along, so why wait to fix things until now, when so many are already buried in debt?

Going to college is emphasized in American culture, though it is increasingly difficult to afford the rising tuition of public universities like UK. According to LendEDU, on average, a student in Kentucky incurs $28,438 in student loans, which will take them 11.88 years to pay off.

There is room for more tuition increases, even if House Bill 452 is passed, perpetuating  the issue of student debt even while making the financial burden more predictable for each individual. 

Although there is potential for tuition to continue at a steady increase, the bill does limit how much the increase can be, slightly removing the burden of worry from someone who is planning to attend UK in the future

As it stands right now, students enroll at UK not knowing exactly what their debt will look like at the end of their college journey because tuition increases at a variable rate each year, so the debt could be more or less than the student had planned for. 

In light of continuous tuition increases, UK president Eli Capilouto was given a $200,000 raise in December 2021, bringing his salary to $1,035,646. Capilouto is getting paid more, but students have found themselves having to pay more each year, sometimes putting them further into debt, to attend the university. 

House Bill 452 will not stop the constant increase in tuition that has been seen at UK for the past 10 years, but it could help students better assess their financial situation and decide whether or not to enroll in a Kentucky university. 

While students would likely be grateful that the amount they are paying for tuition would not be variable throughout their college experience if House Bill 452 passes, they should also recognize that the same individuals who are instilling these measures are the ones who got them into this mess in the first place. 

It is not bad to correct one’s mistakes and learn from them, but the General Assembly should not take all the credit for their contributions to remedying the situation and none of the blame for the issue itself.  

In this day and age where college is less affordable by the year, it is important to note why it costs so much, who set the cost and what the future looks like.