To the editor:
The best evidence of how much the University of Kansas does care about the rising cost of tuition ("Spending binge," Pubic Forum, Oct. 29) is the fact that about 30 percent of this year's new tuition revenue is being returned to students in the form of need-based tuition grants and improved salaries for student workers. On the Lawrence campus alone, that translates into $3.4 million in KU tuition grants (benefiting 4,000 students), $2 million for graduate teaching assistant salaries, $750,000 for graduate research assistant grants, and $300,000 to raise the hourly wages of students who work in campus jobs.
Nationwide, very few public universities have used tuition increases as KU has: to help ensure access for our neediest students. The rest of the new revenue is funding academic improvements, such as better-equipped computer labs and classrooms, expanded career and placement services, retention programs, and the hiring of new faculty. While state funding for KU fell by nearly 8 percent last year, we are not using tuition money to replace tax dollars, nor is tuition being used for the other purposes cited in the letter.
The letter writer may be misinformed about how tuition money is being spent, but he is right about one thing: "KU was a nice school when (his) grandfather attended." In spite of this year's $600 tuition increase for full-time Kansas resident undergraduates, we are experiencing record enrollment; 29,272 students seem to agree that KU remains a high-quality university with a high degree of access.
David Shulenburger, provost,