Recognizing that comprehensive universities play a vital role in enhancing the state’s economy and the quality of life of its citizens, the state created the Regional University Excellence Trust Fund with the passage of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997. One of the primary goals of the improvement act was for each comprehensive university to become recognized in at least one academic program of distinction or one applied research program.
To help meet the goal of advancing Kentucky’s research and economic growth efforts the first appropriations to the trust fund were approved in 1998. Known as the Bucks for Brains initiative it mandated a collaborative effort to advancing higher education. To be eligible to receive monies, universities have to match, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, state funds. Since the first appropriations, Morehead State University has received nearly $7.5 million in state funds for endowment matching and has matched those funds with private contributions increasing the value of MSU’s endowment $15 million dollars.
Funding of the Bucks for Brains initiative has allowed MSU to advance its research capabilities as well as provide support for many projects and activities that are vital to the region and Kentucky. From supporting visiting scholars and research to increasing funding for fellowships and scholarships the endowment match program has had a significant impact.