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Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 1993

UNIVERSITY FUNDING JUST KEEPING PACE WITH U.S. INFLATION

November 3, 1993

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A survey of higher education spending shows Kansas University's budget increase over two years topped the national average.

The state appropriated 6 percent more money for Kansas University in 1993-94 than two years ago, but inflation wiped out all the gain.

"That clearly underscores the importance of our budget proposal," KU Chancellor Gene Budig said Tuesday.

The Kansas Board of Regents asked the state for $1.09 billion in 1994-95. The budget contains a $50 million increase, including a 3 percent raise for operating expenses and faculty salaries.

Board members also proposed a special tuition hike that would further add to faculty salaries.

"That proposal would position us to be far more competitive in the critical area of faculty salaries," Budig said. "It is essential that state leadership be responsive to that initiative."

However, Gov. Joan Finney has said the budget she submits to the 1994 Legislature will be the most austere of her administration.

A state-by-state analysis by the Center for Higher Education at Illinois State University showed budgets for U.S. public colleges and universities increased an average of 2 percent from 1991-92 to 1993-94. Adjusted for inflation, funding nationally declined 4 percent. U.S. Labor Department statistics put inflation at 6 percent over the past two years.

ISU tracks two-year budget changes to avoid discrepancies caused by one-time fluctuations and political influences. Totals reflect appropriation of state tax dollars and exclude tuition, lotteries, local government and other sources.

In Kansas, KU's 6 percent increase in funding compared to increases of 4 percent at Kansas State University and 2 percent at Wichita State University.

Overall, the Kansas Legislature increased funding to regents' universities, Washburn University and community colleges by 6 percent.

Thirty-six states appropriated more to colleges in 1993-94 than two years ago. Big gainers were Georgia and Tennessee, which had 18 percent increases.

Colleges in 11 states received less. California was crippled by a 25 percent reduction in appropriations.

When budgets were adjusted for inflation, universities in 29 states suffered a reduction in buying power.

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