The Tipping Point: Higher Education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky


In the U.S., Higher Education has become less of a priority in government funding. Since FY 99, Kentucky public post-secondary institutions have received less state support, which in return, has substantially increased student tuition. The Great Recession of 2008 represents the "tipping point" of higher education in Kentucky. This dramatic downturn in the economy facilitated the transition, for the first time in history, to student tuition representing the majority of funding for public institutions. This transition indicates a dramatic shift towards private funding of public higher education, which could bring major economic and social implications to the Commonwealth.

Higher education is the panacea to solve all social and economic issues in Kentucky; however, the program is often one of the first to be cut because it is increasingly viewed as a private good, and it can generate funds through alternate revenue streams. Funding for public higher education in Kentucky will likely never return to an equally shared or majority public funded model. Since the "tipping point," higher educational attainment will become increasingly inaccessible to the general public, and only a trifling amount of Kentuckians will be financially privileged to obtain a college degree. Kentucky leaders are not reinvesting in higher education, which will ultimately impact the success and progress made by Kentucky's future generations.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-13-2015


David T. McFaddin

Mentor Department Affiliation

Government and Economics

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

This document is currently not available here.