Students called to fight for funds

On February 7, 2012, students from Northern Kentucky University will travel to Frankfort to join others in sending a unified message: that the legislative body of Kentucky should be investing in higher education, rather than constantly reducing the colleges’ state funding.

The Rally for Higher Education will include students and professors from NKU’s surrounding institutions such as the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, and many others from around the bluegrass state.

“We have the potential to make a difference,” said NKU Student Government Association Senator Joseph Fons. “There are 16,000 of us, and if we take a moment to contact our legislators, well just think of what an impact that would have. They would have to listen to us.”

Since 2008, NKU has seen a reduction of about $6 million in state funding, and could possibly lose another 6.4% for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. This would mean a loss of about $3.2 million for the university.

There are many factors that ultimately decide how much state funding each college receives. A college that is a research institution, such as the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville, will receive a significantly higher sum. A historically black college, such as Kentucky State University, receives special consideration thanks to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which increased the amount of funding that went to higher education institutions.
The regional average of state funds received is about $5,667 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student. A FTE student is a unit used to represent the number of students enrolled full time at an institution. For every undergraduate student that is taking 15 hours of classes, or every graduate student that is taking 12 hours of classes, the institution is granted one instance of a FTE student.

NKU has 12,244 FTE students and received a little over $50 million in state funding for the 2011-2012 year. This averages out to be $4,087 per FTE student, or about $1,580 less than the regional average. This evens out to NKU receiving $19.3 million less in state funding than the regional average per year, and the amount is trending lower and lower each year.
These are the issues that the Rally for Higher Education is hoping to bring into the spotlight on February 7, 2012. If any NKU students would like to join, they can sign up this week in the main lobby of the Student Union, where a booth will be open for questions.

If NKU students do decide to attend, they will be provided a free lunch on the day of the trip, and will receive an “excused from class” letter from the provost.
“Students should be looking on Facebook and Twitter for more information,” said Chanell Karr, SGA Secretary for Public Relations. “There are already event pages set up, and we would like to get as many students to join as we can.”

Fons encourages students to spread the message and contact their respective senator or representatives by calling the “legislative hotline” at 1-800-372-7181. Students can also visit to join the Facebook group, or visit for a list of Kentucky state counties and their respective representatives.