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Archive for Sunday, December 9, 2001

KU grapples with historic tuition increase

December 9, 2001

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KU may not be able to have it both ways.

Administrators at Kansas University often tout their goal of being among the top 25 U.S. universities.

And they've long been proud of the university's tuition rates low enough to land KU "best buy" rankings from national college guides.

But facing a bleak state budget that won't cover sought-after increases and realizing they're losing ground to higher-tuition peer and regional institutions, administrators have started a process that could result in the biggest tuition increase in university history.

It's a notion that's raising concern among current and future students as well as officials worried that KU might price itself out of the market for many students.

"It would be nice if we had the funding from the state so we didn't have to consider this (tuition increase)," said Provost David Shulenburger. "We're used to having very low tuition, and I'm afraid that's going to end."

Beyond the increase, even the process for considering it has been raising concerns.

Justin Mills, KU student body president, said administrators should have included students in developing a plan for discussing the tuition increase.

Because Chancellor Robert Hemenway will first discuss the proposals with the Board of Regents at its January meeting while students are on winter break Mills said he feared students would be left out of the conversation.

"It affects a lot of different people," he said. "If you're raising tuition, you're going to price some students out of an education."

But Mills blamed the Legislature for putting the administration in this position with low funding. He's planning to step up his lobbying efforts this session in Topeka.

"Is this a state-sponsored institution, or is it an actual state institution?" he wondered.

For a comprehensive look at the tuition situation, see the special report inside this section.

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