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Kentucky Senate Resolution Recognizes Tuition Freeze At EKU - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Kentucky Senate Resolution Recognizes Tuition Freeze At EKU

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RICHMOND, Ky. – It’s not every day that a university and its president are honored in the Kentucky General Assembly for freezing tuition.

But that’s exactly what happened in the state Senate on Tuesday when, with Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson at his side, State Sen. Jared Carpenter rose to read Senate Resolution 118, which noted that EKU was the sole Kentucky public postsecondary institution to have announced a tuition freeze for the 2018-19 academic year.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives recognized a contingent of approximately 85 EKU and Richmond Chamber of Commerce officials, as well as community business, governmental and education leaders and members of Leadership Madison County who trekked to Frankfort for the annual Colonels at the Capitol Day. Earlier in the day, the group met with various House and Senate leaders for a frank discussion of various issues, including pension reform and budget cuts.

As it now stands, the University’s pension obligation will increase from $22 million to $32 million for the coming fiscal year. That’s on top of a $5 million cut in state support to the institution. By 2020, only 15 percent of the University’s budget will be derived from state funding.

“But we can’t make up that deficit on the backs of our students,” Benson said, noting that 65 percent of all undergraduate degree recipients are low-income, first-generation or both.

The institution’s 13th president proudly proclaimed Eastern to be “Kentucky’s university,” noting that nearly 90 percent of its students come from Kentucky and more than 70 percent are employed in Kentucky a year after graduation, many as teachers and school administrators, health care professionals, and police officers and other first responders.

“At the end of the day,” Benson told the group, “this is about our students. I never ever want us to lose sight of the fact that we are in the people transformation business.”

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