Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Northern Kentucky University and the Changing Nature of Higher Education Funding in the Commonwealth

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

In the last decade, higher education across the United States has experienced dramatic shifts in the source, amount, and application of funds. The 2008 economic crisis played a huge role in these shifts, causing state governments to implement often draconian austerity measures. These measures are particularly evident in Kentucky, where funding for higher education is still 11.4% less than it was before the 2008 economic crisis. Along with the financial strain, institutions face a number of obstacles when deciding how to allocate their money. The American system, while encouraging competition, also allows for great disparity in educational quality and often causes institutions to care more about increasing their ranking than increasing their educational quality. Gaining an understanding of how public institutions have reacted to these changes will allow for a greater understanding of the state of higher education in Kentucky, and how state legislators and academic leaders can work to improve matters. Northern Kentucky University, the youngest of Kentucky’s eight public universities, has managed to grow in spite of broad government funding cuts. This research project examines changes in and responses to the funding model of NKU in comparison to the other seven public universities in Kentucky. It is hoped that this comparative analysis can assist legislators and academic leaders in addressing the problems that they are facing and encourage a dialogue on the future of Kentucky’s higher education system.

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Northern Kentucky University and the Changing Nature of Higher Education Funding in the Commonwealth

In the last decade, higher education across the United States has experienced dramatic shifts in the source, amount, and application of funds. The 2008 economic crisis played a huge role in these shifts, causing state governments to implement often draconian austerity measures. These measures are particularly evident in Kentucky, where funding for higher education is still 11.4% less than it was before the 2008 economic crisis. Along with the financial strain, institutions face a number of obstacles when deciding how to allocate their money. The American system, while encouraging competition, also allows for great disparity in educational quality and often causes institutions to care more about increasing their ranking than increasing their educational quality. Gaining an understanding of how public institutions have reacted to these changes will allow for a greater understanding of the state of higher education in Kentucky, and how state legislators and academic leaders can work to improve matters. Northern Kentucky University, the youngest of Kentucky’s eight public universities, has managed to grow in spite of broad government funding cuts. This research project examines changes in and responses to the funding model of NKU in comparison to the other seven public universities in Kentucky. It is hoped that this comparative analysis can assist legislators and academic leaders in addressing the problems that they are facing and encourage a dialogue on the future of Kentucky’s higher education system.