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.