Topeka — If a House Appropriations subcommittee has its way this legislative session, tuition at Kansas University would increase 8 percent for Kansas residents and 20 percent for non-residents this fall.
The subcommittee voted today to boost the tuition increase proposed by the Kansas Board of Regents for the 1991-92 academic year, which was 3 percent for residents and 10 percent for non-residents.
Rep. Robert Vancrum, R-Overland Park, and a member of the subcommittee, said tuition must be raised to bolster the state treasury.
Resident tuition at KU, Kansas State and Wichita State and non-resident tuition at all state universities lags too far behind "peer" schools in other states, he said.
UNDER THE proposal, resident tuition at Fort Hays State, Emporia State and Pittsburg State would rise by 3 percent, as recommended by the regents.
However, resident tuition at KU, KSU and WSU would increase 8 percent. At KU, the in-state tuition rate is 91.7 percent of its peers.
Out-of-state students at all the regents universities would face a 20 percent hike. The non-resident charge at KU stands at 76.6 percent of peers.
The news could be even worse for engineering students. The panel rejected a request to earmark revenue from a new $15 per credit hour engineering course fee at KU and WSU and revenue from a $100 per semester fee at KSU, both created to generate money for engineering equipment purchases.
That means the subcommittee intends to recommend to the House Appropriations Committee that $1.2 million in equipment fee revenue be mixed with other university funding.
If that happens, there would be no guarantee the fee would benefit engineering schools.
Mike Schreiner, KU student body president, said the subcommittee's tuition and fees proposals, if passed by the Legislature, would make state universities less attractive to college-bound students, especially non-residents.
"YOU'RE GOING to see students leave the state of Kansas to go to school in other states," he said in an interview.
Carl Locke, KU engineering dean, said in an interview that equipment needs are staggering at the state's engineering schools.
If the state refuses to adequately finance equipment purchases, a "user" fee is the fairest way to raise money for engineering equipment, Locke said.
"I'll be the first to admit we've not funded equipment properly," said Rep. Bill Wisdom, D-Kansas City, and chair of the subcommittee.
"If universities are sincere in the fact that they need this money for this discipline, they're going to see the $1.2 million is used for the effort," he said.
The House subcommittee has been working several weeks to formulate a fiscal 1992 budget for the six public universities. The panel's goal has been to cut university budgets about $50 million below the level recommended by Gov. Joan Finney.