Archive for Friday, May 19, 2006

Final phase of KU tuition increase presented

Kansas undergrads would pay 14.3 percent more

May 19, 2006


Resident undergraduates at Kansas University will pay 14.3 percent more in tuition this fall under a proposal presented Thursday to the Kansas Board of Regents.

The increase would be the last installment of a five-year plan that has more than doubled tuition at KU.

The increases were put in motion to bring in money for salaries, new faculty positions, need-based tuition grants, technology updates and other campus upgrades.

Regents approved the earlier phases of the five-year plan and are expected to also approve the latest requested increase.

KU Provost David Shulenburger defended the increases as necessary to improve the school.

"Students feel like they are getting more for their money," Shulenburger told the regents, who will vote on the proposal next month.

On campus, students had mixed reactions.

Mona Akhlaghi, a KU senior who transferred from Johnson County Community College, said that from food to books to tuition, the costs of attending KU were high.

"It's not that bad, but it is high for Kansas," she said.

Senior Rick Winfrey said he understood tuition increases were needed for faculty and campus upgrades, but they still were hard to handle.

"I pay about $1,000 more per semester than I did when I first came here," he said.

For him that means fewer classes per semester because he needs to take the time to work to pay for school, he said.

"What can I do?" he said. "I feel really powerless to change what the tuition rates are."

Guaranteed tuition

The days of annual double-digit increases in tuition could be over if the regents accept a proposal from KU allowing the school, starting in fall 2007, to provide a guaranteed base tuition plan.

Under the plan, incoming freshmen who complete their degrees in four years would maintain the same tuition rate the entire four years.

"We think it is fair to families because it gives them predictability," Shulenburger said.

Sophomore Brittney Chandler said she liked the sound of a guaranteed tuition plan.

"That would be nice to know and then start saving," she said.

Regent Chairwoman Donna Shank of Liberal said the regents would need time to consider such a proposal.

"On the surface, it sounds good," she said.

Dollars and cents

For next fall, however, KU's proposed tuition increase means a resident undergraduate taking 15 credit hours would pay $2,756.25 in tuition, or $344.25 more than the current $2,412.

Tuition would also increase 12.2 percent for resident graduate students, 9.1 percent for nonresident undergraduates and 8.5 percent for nonresident graduate students.

At KU's School of Medicine, the proposed increase would be 12.1 percent for resident graduate students and 8.5 percent for nonresident graduate students.

KU also proposes increasing student fees. That includes a $20 increase in the women's and nonrevenue intercollegiate sports fee, $1.50 increase in the Student Senate activity fee and a new $6 fee for a program that would provide a safe ride for any KU student to their residence in Lawrence.

KU Medical Center has proposed a $14 annual fee for all students, a $5 annual fee for all medical residents and $2,500 one-time fee for tablet computers.

Compared with other regents universities, KU's proposal had the highest percentage increase. For a resident undergraduate, Kansas State proposed a 13.5 percent increase; Wichita State, 7 percent; Emporia State, 8.5 percent; Pittsburg State, 6.5 percent, and Fort Hays State, 5 percent.

Despite the increases over the years, Shulenburger said KU remained a good deal compared with peer institutions.

He noted that minority enrollment has increased from 9.7 percent in 2001 to 12.3 percent last fall. And the retention of students after one year has climbed to 82 percent for all students and 79 percent for minority students.

"We have not priced students out at all at KU," he said.


BrianR 11 years, 10 months ago

KU constructs yet another barrier for non-traditional students.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

We need an upscale university to support our upscale community. Or is it the other way around? How come if there is no significant inflation, everything keeps on costing allot more? And becoming worth allot less.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

A good way to keep tuition cost low would be to bring in Chinese scholars and workers to fill all the faculty and staff positions. The high priced Americans, now in those jobs, could go work in the factories. No, wait, there aren't many factories left anymore. They could go work in the farm fields. No, wait, our guest worker brothers and sisters are working in those positions. I don't know, maybe they could just wander aimlessly throughout the Land, without purpose or function. Beggars. Nevermind.

Rhoen 11 years, 10 months ago

The University has restrained itself admirably in offering only a 14.3 percent tuition increase.

Compare this percentage of tuition increase with the much greater percentage of increase in administrators' salaries (not to mention administrators' perks) over the past 15 to 20 years. How much is the new Provost going to earn? How much is his wife going to be paid in the position that was given to / created for her? What's the business school dean getting, or the law school dean?

The tuition increase is not likely to fund this category of "boss" jobs.

It is quite clear that KU is having to make sacrifices somewhere to fund these higher-echelon administrator positions. Or perhaps there will simply be an increase in the number of teaching-hours that will be shouldered by the endless supply of KU graduate students who are willing to teach for food (and student loan debt).

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

Why is the increase for residents so much greater than the increase for non-residents? Why tax Kansas residents to make KU more attractive to non-residents? And why use tuitiion increases to fund financial aid? I thought that was the job of the endowment association. Recall that the endowment association made double digit returns on its billiion dollar nest egg. If that money weren't being used to pay exorbitant salaries, it could fund tuition for every single student at KU every year.

johngalt 11 years, 10 months ago

I thought it was TABOR that caused tuition increases.

Obviously not.

Kyle Rohde 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey Godot, do you not realize that out-of-state students already pay a ton more money than residents? In my four years at KU, my tuition went from just over 10 grand to almost 15 grand per year. You can't price out-of-state students out of coming to the state for school. One of KU's roles now and in the future should be to bring in students from around the country and help keep them here after graduation, as the job market gets better in this state.

Bubarubu 11 years, 10 months ago

The notion that this tuition increase is due to financial mismanagement is silly. It's part of a plan to improve KU's resources to better compete with other major research universities. Let's compare a bit, shall we? At KU next year, an in-state undergrad will pay $5512.50 for tuition. At Mizzou, an in-state undergrad will pay $7308. For 15 credit hours at Texas, an in-state student in the least expensive college (Liberal Arts) will pay $7630. At Nebraska, this year's tuition rate sits at $4530. Most in-state students at Iowa State will pay $5860 next year. At K-State next year, 15 credit hours per semester will cost you $4560. KU is not the least expensive school, but it is nowhere near the most expensive among its peers, nor could you realistically call KU's tuition increases unwarranted or exorbitant. What "causes" tuition increases is the need to support research, resources, and programs that make KU better able to compete.

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, rohdek, but out of state students should pay more because their parents are not contributing to the tax base. And, I would bet that at $15K, you are still being subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

I doubt very many out of state graduates stay in Kansas to work (other than as GTA's or GRA's). Heck, even most Kansas graduates leave Kansas to find work.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

These tuition increases should have been happening consistently over the last 20 years. While KU was freezing tuition and its budget from the state was flat, other peer institutions were doing what was necessary to remain a top-notch research university. KU has fallen far behind its peers of 20 years ago and is now struggling to catch up. It is expensive to run a research university. This is why KU has consistently dropped in "rank" (notice we don't hear much about rankings anymore because KU continues to slip).

The flat budget of KU over the last 20 years has caused it to wither on the vine. It is unclear whether KU will ever be able to catch its peers of 20 years ago (Oregon, North Carolina, Iowa, and others).

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 10 months ago

Godot wrote: "Sorry, rohdek, but out of state students should pay more because their parents are not contributing to the tax base. And, I would bet that at $15K, you are still being subsidized by taxpayer dollars."

Although the amount of subsidy through those dollars has fallen quite a bit. We have literally only two options: adequately fund our educational system at all levels, or let the educational system recover its costs from its users.

Hiroyuki Kato 11 years, 10 months ago

KU's tuition is still low comparing to peer institutions. I think rasing tuition is necessary to catch up with those great schools like UNC, Texas, Colorado, or even Mizzou.

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