Gov. Steve Beshear wants an independent study of the proposal to add the University of Pikeville to the state's university system in his hands by March 15.
The Beshear administration has issued a request for proposals to hire a consultant to conduct the study. The RFP contains the March 15 target date.
Former Democratic Gov. Paul Patton, who now is president of the University of Pikeville, is trying to get the school into the state university system.
The consultant's review is to address issues such as the educational need in the Eastern Kentucky region, the capacity of existing institutions to meet that need, the economic impact to the region, a review of financial resources needed to assure the university's success as a state institution, impact of the proposal on existing state universities, accreditation and how this would advance goals of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 and accreditation.
The University of Pikeville enrolls about 1,100 full time students from 80 Kentucky counties, 35 states and 16 foreign countries.
Founded in 1889 by Presbyterians, the University of Pikeville offers a liberal arts and sciences education. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate and doctoral degrees.