Morehead President Wayne Andrews Testifies Against UPike Proposal

Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews has told legislators that there's no need to turn the University of Pikeville into a publicly funded school.

Speaking to the House Education Committee on Tuesday, Andrews said the area is already well-served by current universities and colleges. He says adding another public institution would deprive current institutions of scare resources.

He said that in fiscal year 1999, the state provided $1.17 billion for higher education, and today that portion is $979 million. If Gov. Steve Beshear's budget is approved, that figure will be down to $916 million in 2013.

He said he would prefer to see the money given directly to students for aid to use at any university.

After Andrews concluded his remarks the panel then heard from Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock.

Whitlock is staying neutral on the proposal.

Whitlock told Kentucky Public Radio there are issues with poor education in Eastern Kentucky region and there are several remedies.

“UPike’s a possible solution," he said. "The sorts of things that President Andrews just outlined around increased collaboration and such thing as University Center of the Mountains, that’s also a possibility."

Whitlock also mentioned giving student loans to those in the region to study at other state universities that would be forgiven if they returned to far eastern Kentucky afterward.

Whitlock also said the state could give Eastern Kentucky residents forgivable student loans to study at other state universities.

The committee is expected to continue hearing testimony on the UPike bill for at least one more week.