Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts may lead to higher UK tuition


Gov. Matt Bevin ordered the Louisville Planned Parenthood to stop performing abortions. Photo by Josh Mott | Staff

Cheyene Miller

In his first budget proposal as Kentucky governor, Republican Matt Bevin highlighted several baseline cuts that could impact Kentucky college students and their wallets in a big way.

“We are going to have to cut the budget,” Bevin said to a crowd of Kentucky state government members. “It’s been rumored, (and) it’s true.”

The nine percent per year baseline cut equates to about 2 and a half cents on the budget dollar, according to Bevin. Such cuts could lead to public universities like UK raising their tuition to cope with less state funds.

Though student financial aid was among the items exempt from state budget cuts, UK has previously raised tuition after decreases in state funding. In 2014 the university increased tuition five percent after a 1.5 percent cut to higher education from the General Assembly, according to a report from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Bevin also revealed that over the next few years, all state money will increasingly go toward outcomes based funding.

Bevin had advocated for such outcomes funding for careers in science, technology, engineering and math during the gubernatorial campaign.

“If you are going to ask for taxpayer money to subsidize that education … then it should be used for things that are going to be to the best benefit of the taxpayers themselves,” Bevin said after the EKU gubernatorial debate in October.

Speaking on an issue that has seen relative bipartisan support, Bevin revealed a more than $5 million increase in funding to fight heroin abuse in Kentucky.

“It’s a scourge that we have to fight with everything in us,” said Bevin, who called heroin abuse “systemic throughout this state and beyond.”

According to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s 2014 Overdose Fatality Report, Fayette County had the highest increase in drug overdose deaths of any Kentucky county, with 112 in 2014 compared to 86 in 2013.

Bevin said he will follow through with his promise to dismantle Kynect, the state’s online insurance market.

“We are going to shut down Kynect, let me reiterate that,” said Bevin, who said the exchange was “bleeding out” and was too heavily subsidized on state and federal dollars. “The redundancy was of no value to us.”

State Rep. Sannie Overly said college students in Kentucky would have to wait and see if their tuition is raised in response to cuts in the state budget, but questioned whether or not Bevin was leading Kentucky in the right direction economically.

“It’s disappointing to me that a governor would want to cut nine percent from programs that help low and moderate income Kentuckians,” said Overly, who ran for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket against Bevin and running mate Jenean Hampton in November.

State Sen. Dan Seum praised Bevin’s performance, and said the budget was pretty much in line with what he expected.

Earlier in January Seum introduced a bill that would freeze university tuition and fees, and said that universities use state budget cuts as an excuse to raise tuition.

“You’re going to see tuition increase whether this governor spoke or not,” Seum said.

For more information on the proposed state budget, go to