Capilouto: Higher Education Cuts Undermine UK's Efforts To Compete

Feb 20, 2014

University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto is urging lawmakers to reconsider the 2.5 percent higher education cuts in Gov. Beshear’s budget.

Capilouto, along with University of Louisville president James Ramsey, laid out the case for state support of post-secondary education before a House budget committee Thursday.

"The key message I gave them today is [that] the $280 million dollar investment of state funds has yielded a return of $2.7 billion dollars in an academic research and clinical enterprise. You probably can't find a greater investment that has returned health services to the Commonwealth, a more educated workforce," Capilouto argues.

If Beshear’s recommendations remain in place, cuts to universities will have totaled 17 percent since 2008. Asked whether the latest round of proposed cuts could further drive up the cost of tuition, Capilouto says that option could be on the table.

"We're still in our budget planning stages. Access and affordability remains a priority for us and certainly the amount of any kind of cut we would have to endure would have an impact on those decisions," he says.

Among the suggestions made by lawmakers: asking athletics departments to contribute more to academics.