Kentucky State Univ. Facing "New Normal"

Oct 31, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The president of Kentucky State University has put forth a roadmap for the Board of Regents, faculty, and staff as the school faces what Dr. Mary Evans Sias calls “a new normal.” That means operating with fewer resources from both the state and federal government while educating students who need financial aid and may be under-prepared for college.

Other historically black colleges and universities are dealing with similar issues, some which have experienced staff layoffs. Sias says faculty at KUS will be held more accountable for student success.

“We are doing program reviews. Faculty were not hit this time but we are looking at our programs and saying ‘How many students do you have? What’s your retention rate? What’s your graduation rate?’ We’ve asked a couple of programs to improve their numbers and we will continue to do that.”

Unlike most public universities across the state, KSU saw student enrollment drop this semester, which Sias blames on lack of available financial aid through the federal Pell Grant program and Parent Plus loans.

“We lost a large number of students because of money. We surveyed over 200 students who were not there who had pre-registered and for 70 some percent of them, money was the reason.”

Sias says KSU will review its scholarship and campus work programs and develop more online programs.