FRANKFORT, Ky. — Financial help for Kentucky State University is on the way, with a bill expected to be signed by the governor. 

What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 250 has been sent to the governor's desk

  • It passed the General Assembly Wednesday

  • The bill sets aside close to $40 million for Kentucky State University

  • The legislation includes several requirements

Last fall, leaders who had recently been brought on board at KSU shared with lawmakers what they had learned about the school’s cash problem. 

“Essentially, the university didn’t have sufficient cash to pay vendors and make payroll when we got there,” Greg Rush, the university’s chief financial officer, told a committee in October. 

Clara Ross Stamps, acting president of Kentucky State University, Aaron Thompson, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education and KSU Chief Financial Officer Greg Rush appeared before lawmakers in Nov. 2021. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Kelly)

A financial assessment presented to lawmakers in November showed the school would be out of cash by the end of March. 

House Bill 250 received final passage Wednesday.

It would give $23 million to the state’s only public historically Black university, to help cover a shortfall, with another $15 million through the Council on Postsecondary Education.

“This is a lifeline and an incentive and an opportunity and I look forward to these people doing the study and coming back and telling us how we can move this place forward and do good things but, as the senator from Jefferson 33 and I have discussed, this is also a warning shot,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel (R, Ryland Heights). “This is the chance. Take it. Seize it. Run with it.”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R, Georgetown) said he voted in favor of the legislation reluctantly. 

“I’ve been so disappointed with (Kentucky) State in the recent years that we’ve had, but we need to give it another chance and I’m going to vote aye,” he said.

Sen. Gerald Neal (D, Louisville) supported the bill, but said historically, KSU has not received adequate funding. 

“Over the last ... 22 years, enhanced funding, that means the increased, the next level of funding for Kentucky State University ... has the General Assembly appropriated a little over $17 million in enhanced funding,” he said. “Over 20 years. Think about that. That’s shameful!” 

Under the bill, CPE will be required to oversee an improvement plan, approve any expense greater than $5,000 and give a monthly update on finances to the governor and lawmakers. 

Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear appointed eight members to the KSU Board of Regents, including former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, KSU graduates and others. 

The appointments were brought about by the passage of Senate Bill 265.