By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University President Michael V. Carter isserving on the President’s AdvisoryCommittee for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s working group to study the cost of a college education.
The 25-member Higher Education Work Group, which includes various business leaders, senior governmental officials and members from both houses of the state legislature, includes Dr. Gary Cox, president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, to which Campbellsville University belongs.
The group was announced recently at a press conference in Frankfort.
University presidents from across the Commonwealth will advise the work group, and Carter is one of three private college presidents serving.
Proclaiming that no child of ability should be denied access to college because of cost, Beshear created the task force to tackle the issues of affordability and access to Kentucky higher education.
“It’s my belief that no person in this state with the drive and ability to succeed should be denied access to a college education because he or she can’t afford it,” Beshear said. “Yet because of cost, the door of opportunity is closed or beyond reach for too many of our children.”
Beshear said the Higher Education Work Group will be co-chaired by business leaders Mira Ball of Lexington and Pete Mahurin of Bowling Green.
“It is a pleasure to serve on this important advisory committee given the rapid changes taking place in higher education,” Carter said.
“Certainly, my role will be to represent the independent/private colleges so that our niche in the landscape of higher education in Kentucky is kept at the forefront.”
For the 17th consecutive semester, Campbellsville University has achieved record enrollment with 2,601 students, according to Carter, who is serving in his tenth year as president of CU.
Campbellsville University has worked on curtailing the cost of higher education for several years including this year when tuition increased only 4.8 percent this past year – with an increase of 5.6 percent the year before.
“This increase is well below what most other higher education institutions are doing,” said Chris Tolson, director of financial aid at Campbellsville University.
Tolson said that factor is the “single largest factor in our students’ ability to return or attend” college for the past two years.
“These minimal tuition increases have helped Campbellsville students and families during tough economic times,” she said. “It has been especially beneficial for students during times when federal and state grant programs have not kept pace with tuition cost.”
She said, “A combination of grants, scholarships, work and loans made available
through federal, state and our own university sources make it financially possible for students to pay for the education.
“Campbellsville’s commitment to remain affordable is remarkable in that we will commit over $10.2 million in grants and scholarships from our own resources to help students financially this academic year. This far exceeds federal and state grants combined total of about $8.6 million,” Tolson said.
Carter said Campbellsville University is working with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education in their “Double the Numbers” campaign that is a plan to double the number of college graduates in Kentucky by 2020. Launched by the Council on Oct. 17, 2007, the Double the Numbers Plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to double the number of bachelor’s degree holders in the state by 2020. As the plan explains, increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity.
Campbellsville University is committed to continue serving first generation students and minority students.
The group will be tasked with producing two reports with recommendations for Beshear. The first, due in January 2009, will among other things look at ways to reduce costs associated with college, and a second report, due by September 2009, will look at the long-term issue of creating stable state funding for public higher education
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.