EDITORIAL: Some students might unfairly shoulder the budget burden

Herald Staff

THE ISSUE: Although WKU can only increase tuition by 3 percent for resident, undergraduate, face-to-face students instead of its requested 5 percent, students who don’t fall under those categories could likely see a 5 percent increase. 


OUR STANCE: It’s unfair that some students at WKU could have to bear the burden that the university has acquired because of decisions out of its control.



ast week, Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education capped tuition increases across the state at 3 percent.

But because the CPE deals only with Kentucky, whatever WKU decides to do with the students who are not Kentucky residents is up to the university.

Only if you are a Kentucky resident undergraduate who physically attends classes will you receive a 3 percent increase. If you take only online classes, are a graduate student or come from out of state, the potential for two more percentage points is there.

While the Herald maintains that the additional 2 percent is unfair for those students, we understand that this is a complex issue.

According to its website, the CPE “coordinates change and improvement in Kentucky’s postsecondary education system.” The CPE is supposedly working to benefit the state. In other words, if the Kentucky legislature gives more money for state postsecondary education, the CPE can do its thing to make that education better.

The breakdown: better education comes from more money, and more money comes from — yep — more taxes.

To address this large issue, students and faculty can write their congressmen. But for now, perhaps WKU should explore other avenues to balance the budget.

Eastern Kentucky University, for example, is likely going to make program and personnel cuts, according to Kentucky.com. No one wants to think about instructors getting the axe because that means fewer classes and more registration chaos and graduation delays. But maybe there are some program cuts that could be made. In an email to faculty and staff on Thursday, President Gary Ransdell said he has “asked the Vice Presidents to begin making recommendations.”

Program cuts may cause our university to not appear as progressive as it does now. But with an unappealing tuition increase for those out-of-state students, for example, our leading American university with international reach will have a hard time maintaining even a national reach.

According to Kentucky.com, the CPE made its decision based on making college more affordable for lower-income families. But a lower-income family could have a student working three jobs who can’t physically go to class. A lower-income family could have a student pushing through graduate school because a job has required a higher degree. A lower-income family could be out-of-state.

If tuition is going to increase, it should increase across the board. Otherwise, don’t bother making it more difficult for some. 

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Heralds 11-member editorial board.