This is unusual. While many pundits worry about the slow privatization of America’s state colleges, it looks like one state is moving in the opposite direction.

According to an Associated Press article by Roger Alford in The Republic:

[Kentucky] Governor Steve Beshear ordered a study Tuesday to look into the “advisability and feasibility” of turning the private University of Pikeville into a publicly funded institution.

“The University of Pikeville meets a regional need for quality education in Appalachia, and the school’s growth illustrates its potential as an economic driver in the area,” Beshear said in a statement. “Universities are economic drivers in their regions, producing well-educated and trained students who are prepared to enter the workforce.”

Basically Beshear, a Democrat, believes that Eastern Kentucky needs a state university so that residents can receive an affordable education locally. The nearest state universities to the region are more than two hours away. Kentucky will conduct a study about the economic impacts of adding the college to the state system.

The University of Pikeville has a little over 1000 students currently. It was founded by the Presbyterian Church as the Pikeville College Institute in 1889. Tuition is $16,000 a year.

According to the article the state also conducted a feasibility study before it decided to add the University of Louisville to the state system in 1970. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer