Topeka Dependents and spouses of employees at Fort Hays State University won't be getting free tuition and fees anytime soon.
And the decision by the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday to deny the proposed tuition waivers likely will head off similar efforts at other universities.
"The reality is every faculty senate will bring this to their CEO if it occurs at one campus," said Regent Dick Bond, of Overland Park. "It's not significant money at Fort Hays, but if you get to K-State or KU, it becomes real money -- many millions."
The FHSU proposal would have given spouses of employees up to 24 credit hours of free tuition each year. Dependents of employees also would have been eligible for free tuition, depending on how long the employee had worked there.
The range was five credit hours after three years of employment to 24 hours for seven or more years of employment.
FHSU President Ed Hammond said the proposal was designed to recruit and retain faculty in Hays. He said it would have cost the university $40,000 per year, based on current enrollments.
Board of Regents staff said the cost could be up to $200,000 if additional spouses or dependents took part.
"I'm afraid there would be a perception in the public that if Fort Hays can do this, universities must have enough money, and that's not the case," said Regent Lew Ferguson, Topeka.
University governance groups at KU have discussed the possibility of pursuing tuition waivers for spouses and children of faculty and staff for several years.