Tuition and fees to Kansas University will climb this fall to $6,152 - more than double the rate five years ago.
Though the final increase in KU's five-year tuition plan shouldn't be a surprise, it caused enough heartburn for the outgoing chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Regents to vote to reject the increase Thursday.
Regent Donna Shank, of Liberal, was the lone dissenter to tuition increase proposals at KU and Kansas State University, which were ultimately approved by the other Regents.
"I just felt like that was too much too fast for families and students to bear," Shank said of the continuous increases at the schools.
But administrators at both institutions defended their actions, saying the increases were necessary and that students have supported them.
"They want access to excellence," said K-State President John Wefald. "They don't want access to mediocrity."
Resident undergraduate tuition at KU next year will be $5,512.50 - a 14.3 percent increase from 2005-06. K-State students will pay $5,175, a 13.5 percent increase.
Fees will cost students an added $640 at KU and $604 at K-State.
More about KU tuition
KU also raised differential tuition by 4 percent in each of its schools that charge the tuition, which is paid by students in a particular school or department and spent in the same school.
Is it too much?
"I think people have to make their own judgments," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said, noting that the majority of Regents approved the increases. "The fact of the matter is our tuition remains low."
In advance of Thursday's meeting, the Regents produced a report showing KU's tuition in 2005-06 was below that of several surrounding institutions, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Iowa.
The increase approved Thursday likely will be the highest percentage increase for students for a while. The five-year plan was an aggressive move to raise funds for faculty positions, technology, salary increases, financial aid and other enhancements.
But KU officials now are working on a guaranteed tuition plan. For students it would mean a predictable tuition rate over the first four years of school. The rate would be based on KU's estimated tuition rates averaged for the four years. So KU would still see increased revenue, but not as dramatic as the past few years.
"It's too bad it's gone up as much as it has recently," KU senior Ryan Kanost said. "But, overall, I think it's a good value."
Aimee Richardson, a KU law student, said she doesn't appreciate the increases. She said scholarships helped pay for her undergraduate work at KU, but she knows that it can be difficult to go to KU without them. Richardson said she thinks the university could be more efficient by spending less on things like a new logo or by paying administrators less.
"There's no reason they should be making what they do," she said. "I don't see a lot of direct impact that they have on my education."