Many Kentucky State Students Pay Up Following Threat

September 11, 2014

Kentucky State University’s plan to kick out a quarter of its students for failing to pay their bills has paid off for the university.

About 452 of the 645 students the university dropped last week for unpaid bills have paid their balances in full or have worked out a payment plan with the university such that they are able to continue taking classes, Kentucky State announced Wednesday. The university’s current enrollment is now 1,881.

The public historically black college last week blamed students with unpaid bills for a $7 million deficit.  So those students -- about 25 percent of the college's population – were dropped, two weeks into the school year.

Interim President Raymond Burse said this week he wanted to thank students and parents who “answered my call for action and accountability.”

“Once students understood that the university was serious about their charges being paid up front, “ Burse said in a statement, “a large number of them found resources to meet their financial obligations to KSU.”

Breana Smith, the president of Kentucky State’s Student Government Association, earlier this week called the situation “unfortunate,” but said in an email Monday, “The university is doing all that it can to help students stay in school; but at the end of the day, the university has to collect tuition and fees in order to maintain its financial stability.”

The Faculty Senate also met earlier this week to discuss the financial conditions.

“We agreed that there needs to be a change in policy to prevent students from returning or enrolling if they are not meeting their financial obligations,” Faculty Senate President Peter A. Smith said in an email. “There were no comments from either senators or the other faculty present that disapproved of the president's action; the discussion focused on what role the faculty could play in restoring financial security to the University.”

Kentucky State is among the public HBCUs that have been struggling with enrollment declines, cuts to government financial aid, leadership controversies and heightened oversight.

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