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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Since the Great Recession, Kentucky has cut higher education funding more deeply than all but five other states, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Kentucky’s per student spending on colleges and universities declined 32 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to the study. Only five other states have made deeper cuts -- Arizona (-56 percent), Louisiana (-39 percent), South Carolina (-37 percent), Alabama (-36 percent) and Pennsylvania (-33 percent).

The cuts are part of a long-term shift of higher education funding from state taxpayers to students, through continually increasing tuition.

“We are sliding backwards, when what we should be doing is investing in our education institutions, which in turn is investment in our communities,” Ashley Spalding, a research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said in a press release about the report.

KCEP advocates for tax reform that would generate more state revenue which could be put toward higher education.

Kentucky’s college and university funding cuts will continue with the legislature and Gov. Matt Bevin approving a 4.5 percent cut over the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1.

Kentucky is also one of only 11 states that continued to cut higher education from 2015 to 2016, according to the report. 

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