Somewhere at the top of the next Kentucky governor's to-do list must be a push to rev up state government support for our publicly assisted universities.
I say "publicly assisted" because state colleges and universities increasingly have had to develop their own sources of funding -- not just by jacking up tuition, although that certainly has been a frequent resort in recent years, but also by competing for more research money and expanding their lists of private givers.
Only 18 percent of the University of Kentucky's budget comes from Frankfort.
In that sense, taxpayers are getting a real bargain, especially at the Kentucky institutions that are getting better and better, and earning more distinction and recognition in the American higher education community. ...
...While you were spending time at the water cooler speculating on who would complete the most passes, Brian Brohm or Andre' Woodson, UK president Lee Todd was embarking on a "See Blue" tour across the state, and the reference isn't to the color of football jerseys.
Along with the UK provost, deans and others, Todd will be selling the importance of a college degree and explaining his school's push to grant more of them, while earning a place among the nation's top 20 public research campuses.
He's right. Kentucky deserves to have a university on that list.
In a message to the state last week, Todd pointed out that both UK and U of L "have dramatically increased their efforts, hiring faculty and earning more external resources to push the boundaries of discovery…." Last year, UK's research expenditures reached a record $324 million, and that's no abstraction, unrelated to the daily life of Kentuckians. ...
...A college degree shows up not only in bigger paychecks but in "greater tax revenue and a stronger democracy."
The statistics show that "no matter how you classify it -- intellectual curiosity, empathy, etc. -- those with the highest degrees were more likely than others to say it's important to understand the opinions of others."
This from David Hawpe at the Courier-Journal.