FRANKFORT – Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), met with Rep. Rick Rand, chairman of the House appropriations and revenue committee, on Thursday at the Capitol.
“I am thankful that Rep. Rand took the time out of his busy schedule to meet with me,” said Dr. Stephenson. Rep. Rand was interested in Dr. Stephenson’s opinion of performance-based funding since he has worked in two states (Alabama and Missouri) where that had been implemented. “He understands the importance of community and technical colleges in regards to community, economic and workforce development.”
Since 2008, BSCTC’s state appropriation has been slashed 22 percent, or around $1.9 million. Under the governor’s proposed budget, the college would lose an additional 9 percent.
Dr. Stephenson said the college has implemented stringent cost-cutting measures to alleviate the burden of the cuts being passed on to students. Last year, all 16 colleges that comprise the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) did not raise tuition. Every other public institution in the state raised tuition and fees.
“Despite the cuts from our state appropriations, we have remained student focused and results driven,” added Dr. Stephenson. Since 2008, BSCTC has served more than 24,000 first-generation college students and have increased the number of degrees and credentials awarded by 156 percent.
Dr. Stephenson said that BSCTC and other community and technical colleges cannot fuel the economies of the Commonwealth on an empty tank.
“A reinvestment in community and technical colleges sends a stern message that Kentucky is open for business and ready to compete and thrive in the global economy,” said Dr. Stephenson. “Our future and the future of our children is dependent on it.”