Archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuition line

Regardless of how much state higher education funding is approved, the Kansas Board of Regents must stand by its resolve to limit university tuition increases.

April 23, 2008


The Kansas Board of Regents should put pressure on state legislators to adequately fund higher education, but it also should stand by its decision to limit university tuition increases regardless of how much state funding legislators approve.

It's understandable that the regents currently are saying that the amount of state funding approved by the Kansas Legislature is critical to keeping tuition increases at a reasonable level. Legislators have approved only half of the $20 million increase Gov. Kathleen Sebelius recommended for higher education operating budgets, and regents want to keep the pressure on legislators to come up with the other half.

Lawmakers, however, are facing significant financial challenges of their own. The latest state revenue estimates were $130 million below earlier predictions, and lawmakers have been told it will cost about $30 million more than expected to cover the state's social service programs. Against that backdrop it will be tempting to bypass additional higher education funding.

By the same token, if that funding is not forthcoming, it will be tempting for the regents to use that action to justify higher increases in university tuition. That would be the wrong move.

During tough economic times, as reflected by the lower revenue estimates, is exactly the wrong time to shift more of the financial burden of a university education to students and their families. After a number of years of double-digit tuition increases, many Kansans are struggling to pay for the higher education that is so important not only to them personally but to the economic future of the state.

In February, the regents told university leaders that they would not accept tuition increases of more than 6 percent for the next school year. It is hoped the revenue from that increase can be combined with the full $20 million operating increase recommended by the governor. That money will pay dividends for the state in the long run.

However, even if legislators fail to approve additional higher education funding, the regents should stick by its insistence on tuition increases of no more than 6 percent. As students and their families are forced to tighten their belts to pay their higher education bills, universities should have to do the same.


jboet 9 years, 11 months ago

You should have your facts straight prior to publication. Yes, the Regents discusssed tuition rates at the meeeting in February. A motion was made to cap any tuition increase at 6%. The motion failed. Various individual Regents commented on various numbers but to quote your editorial that "the regents would not accept increases of more than 6 percent for the next school year" is simply not correct. We don't know what will, or will not, be proposed. Prior to discussion, we don't know what rates would be proposed or approved. First reading is scheduled for the May meeting with a second reading in June. Before passing judgment, perhaps you should allow the responsible parties to formulate their opinions. As a member of the press, you have an important obligation to get your facts correctly stated. In this editorial, you did not.

penguin 9 years, 11 months ago

I think that they should watch who they hold to that 6% line. I think it unfairly punishes the schools like FHSU and ESU who have not raised their rates at nearly the same rate. I know when I started at KU in 1999 the tuition (without fees) was the same price as at FHSU. However, now FHSU is at $106 and change per hour and KU is pretty much double that...same as KSU. I say do not punish the smaller schools!!!

ralphralph 9 years, 11 months ago

How will they recognize that they are being punished?I mean, they're already in Hays.

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