Topeka — A Kansas Board of Regents task force finished an eight-month study of tuition policy by proposing a program to attract brilliant out-of-state students and strategies to help Kansans attend state universities.
The report, ratified by Kansas University Chancellor Gene Budig and other task force members Wednesday, will be forwarded to regents in March. Elements may become part of the regents' 1991 legislative agenda.
The seven-member task force agreed the state should allow academically gifted non-residents with a 3.5 grade point average in the regents' recommended high school curriculum to pay in-state tuition rates if they enroll at one of the state's six universities.
Regent Robert Creighton, chairman of the task force, said that if the Legislature approves the program targeted at the best and brightest students from other states "we'll make some Kansans out of people who don't live here right now."
ASSUMING tuition was frozen at this fall's rate, a KU student would save $12,000 over four years if successful in maintaining the 3.3 GPA needed to retain in-state status. Savings would be identical at Kansas State and Wichita State, but less at other state universities.
The task force suggested that when university tuition rates climb faster than relevant economic indexes, regents should consider including in the system's budget request a proposal to raise state funding of need-based financial aid programs by a commensurate amount.
However, the panel said the risks and complexity inherent in many states' college savings plans were such that Kansas should rely exclusively on existing vehicles, such as college savings bonds issued by the Kansas Development Finance Authority and federal government.
When setting tuition rates, the task force recommended regents review a broad range of factors Consumer Price Index, Kansas per capita income and tuition at peer universities, for example rather than linking rates to a single index.
THE REPORT says Kansas needs tuition rates yielding fee-cost ratios (tuition revenue divided by educational expenditure) that require students at regents universities to pay 25 to 33 percent of the cost of their education in the form of tuition.
Task force members opposed the concept of differential pricing of tuition by academic program at regents universities because it wouldn't achieve the object of providing extra money for high-cost programs such as engineering.
Regents also should refrain from creating special academic restricted use fees to supplement general use funding except when there is a compelling reason, other funding sources have been exhausted and failure to do so would jeopardize the program.
With Budig's endorsement, the task force amended the report to include a statement supporting an increase in the state's graduate teaching assistant fee waiver from 75 percent to 100 percent. Gov. Mike Hayden supports an 80 percent GTA fee waiver.