Tuition interest bill goes to governor

? Public universities will be able to keep the interest earned on tuition under legislation sent to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday.

The Senate approved the measure 36-4 after earlier House approval.

Regents schools, including Kansas University, said they would use the money – estimated at $8.5 million in the next year – to take care of a backlog of repairs and renovations over at least the next five years.

If signed into law by Sebelius, the measure would allow public universities to keep the interest earned on tuition and student fees that currently goes toward the state’s all-purpose general revenue fund.

Universities have been seeking the interest funds for years.

The estimated amount of interest on tuition and fees totaled $3.3 million for KU and $337,000 for KU Medical Center.

Universities have said they have $586 million worth of needed repair projects. A tax increase proposed by the Kansas Board of Regents at the start of the legislative session went nowhere.

Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the regents, said, “This legislation sends a clear signal to students and their parents that the full purchasing power of their tuition and fee payments will be leveraged for the betterment of the university they attend instead of being arbitrarily deposited in the general state government treasury in Topeka.

“In addition, this important measure will enhance the state universities ability to perform desperately needed building repairs and maintenance on their campuses.”