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Archive for Thursday, April 16, 1992

PANEL PONDERS TUITION ISSUES

April 16, 1992

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A Board of Regents' committee Wednesday kept alive a proposal that would allow state universities to offer new tuition breaks to athletes and other talented students.

The Tuition and Fees Committee met at Kansas University's alumni center to work on tuition rates and policy initiatives for the 1993-94 academic year.

The committee hasn't made final decisions but is thinking in terms of an 8 percent tuition increase for KU, Kansas State and Wichita State. The increase at the regents' three regional schools could be 6 percent.

At this point, the rate of increase for resident and non-resident students would be the same.

Regents already approved tuition inceases for the next academic year of 10 percent for Kansas residents and 12.5 percent for non-resident students at KU.

The committee will meet again next month to solidify its recommendations. Regents are scheduled to vote on the committee's proposals in June.

AT THE beginning of the meeting, seven initiatives for improving financial aid to state university students were on the table.

The cost of the initiatives in fiscal 1994 would be $5.1 million. Extended over three additional years, the cost would be $14.6 million.

Regent Charles Hostetler, a member of the committee, has been lobbying the committee to endorse a new program that would provide a limited number of tuition waivers to non-resident athletes and other talented students.

His primary objective is to free athletic department funds that are currently devoted to paying the cost of non-resident scholarships, he said.

"They do need help," Hostetler said. "It's killing them. I'd like to help them."

HOSTETLER wanted to provide 100 of the waivers to each of the six universities. He agreed to scale back the proposal to 360 waivers, with 75 going to KU.

Of the 75, 50 would be reserved for musicians, artists and other "talented" students and 25 would be awarded to athletes.

Ray Hauke, regents' budget director, said opponents of the plan would ask for proof that the athletes or musicians wouldn't have come to Kansas anyway.

"This is going to get a frosty reception," said Stanley Koplik, executive director of the regents.

The committee expressed support for another new program that would guarantee National Merit and National Achievement scholars a full tuition break for resident students. Non-resident students would pay the in-state rate.

"I personally think that's an excellent idea to attract students," Hostetler said.

WSU PRESIDENT Warren Armstrong, another commitee member, said it would be difficult for legislators to oppose a program designed to attract these high-ability students.

The committee deliberated over a proposal to create the Kansas Supplemental Grant Program. It would provide $2.3 million in aid durings its first year of operation.

A proposal that would have granted a 50 percent tuition waiver to the spouse or dependents of university employees was opposed by Hostetler and Donald Slawson, another regent. The estimated cost was $636,000 a year.

Slawson said he was "adamantly" opposed to offering such waivers.

"It comes across as self-serving," he said. "I don't think it's appropriate."

THE PROGRAM would be politically vulnerable because it excludes other state employees, Armstrong said.

"I wish there was a way to extend it to other areas of state employment," he said.

He said to limit such a program to the spouse and dependents of a faculty unclassified staff member would be "political dynamite."

Robert Glennen, president of Emporia State University, defended the waiver idea. It would aid in employee recruiting and retention, he said.

At Slawson's request, the committee discussed raising tuition at the KU School of Law. Existing rates at the law school aren't high enough, he said.

"My feeling is that law school tuition is too low," he said.

Currently, no distinction is made for tuition purposes between a traditional graduate student and a law student. All tuition money goes into the state treasury.

ROBERT JERRY, dean of law, said that if regents set a differential tuition rate some mechanism should be developed to allow the school to retain the extra revenue.

KU's law school would be ranked higher nationally if additional resources were devoted to faculty salaries and academic activities, said Jerry, who isn't on the committee.

Hauke warned the committee that Kansas legislators are concerned that Missouri residents enrolled at the KU Regents Center in Overland Park pay the resident tuition rate.

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