Topeka State universities need a program endorsed Thursday by the Kansas Board of Regents that would lower tuition to non-resident athletes and other "talented" students, Kansas University officials said today.
At the regents' meeting, only Regent Jack Sampson of Hutchinson expressed concern about the idea of helping universities lure athletes to Kansas.
Under the proposal that will go to the 1993 Legislature, universities would be allowed to charge 90 intercollegiate athletes and 190 other non-resident students in-state tuition.
In the program's first year, 72 tuition waivers would be available to state universities at a cost to the state of $288,000. One-third of the waivers would be reserved for athletes. It will take four years to fully implement the program.
"Athletic departments are struggling to meet budgets and be competitive. This is a way we can help athletic departments a little bit," said Del Shankel, executive vice chancellor.
BOB FREDERICK, KU's athletic director, said the tuition waiver program would provide important, legitimate assistance to the athletic department.
"Many of the schools that we compete with now have out-of-state tuition waivers. This is significant help to us financially," he said.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig endorsed the proposal. He said steps should be taken to relieve some of the pressure on athletic budgets at all state universities.
After four years, KU would have jurisdiction over 75 tuition waivers. Fifty would be for musicians, dancers, artists and other talented students. Twenty-five would be for varsity athletes.
At KU, the in-state tuition rate in 1993-94 will be $786 a semester. The non-resident rate will be $3,039 a semester.
The program was part of the regents' financial aid package that included $2.3 million for a need-based grant program, $500,000 more for the state's scholarship program and $127,000 for tuition waivers for National Merit and National Achievement scholars.
Frederick said he would prefer to have more tuition waivers for athletes.
"Obviously, we'd love to have 200 of them. I know that's not going to happen. I'm grateful for 25," he said.
KU'S WILLIAMS Educational Fund, a fund-raising program of the athletic department, must generated $3 million annually to finance scholarships for 450 students in 18 sports at KU.
"We survive by virtue of bringing in about $3 million in contributions," Shankel said. "Nebraska survives by having 75,000 people in the football stadium every Saturday."
Scott McMichael, assistant director of the Williams Fund, said it has been difficult for the program's 3,500 donors to keep pace with increases in non-resident tuition.
Non-resident tuition increases at KU have been in the double digits in four of the past five years. In the past 10 years, non-resident tuition has risen 117 percent.
"We're basically self-supporting here," McMichael said. "Any help we can get is much appreciated. We put on a class program here. For better or worse, we're the front porch of the university. We want it well represented."