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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Regents hear that higher education could benefit from President Obama’s economic recovery bill

January 20, 2009

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— Facing deep budget cuts and mounting campus repairs, a leading higher education official Tuesday said Kansas may get help from President Obama’s economic stimulus plan.

Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, said higher education is part of the proposed $825 billion recovery bill that will be worked on by Congress and Obama.

“We’ve heard the president talk about investment,” Robinson told the House Higher Education Committee. Robinson said putting funds into higher education “will provide something of lasting value after the money is spent.”

Robinson said so far discussions on the stimulus proposal have focused on helping higher education institutions pay for infrastructure improvements, and helping students who have been affected by the national recession to stay in school.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment bill would provide $550 billion in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts, according to a summary of the bill.

The measure includes a $15.6 billion increase for Pell Grants to increase the maximum grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350. The proposal also includes $490 million for college work-study.

Robinson said he didn’t know how much would be committed to higher education for maintenance and repair projects, but that he has asked schools to provide him a list of “shovel ready” projects.

Because of the fiscal crisis, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has proposed a 7 percent cut, or $120.3 million, in higher education funding over the next 17 months as a way to help balance the current fiscal year budget and the next one.

In addition, the state faces a backlog of $825 million to fix deteriorating university buildings, including $316 million at Kansas University.

Some committee members were unhappy with the proposed cuts to higher education.

State Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, said she didn’t support a 7 percent cut, adding that higher education will help the state recover from the economic downturn.

“Higher education is where you train people to go to work,” she said.

Comments

justthefacts 5 years, 9 months ago

"Higher Education" covers anything after 12th grade or a GED. Community colleges, technical colleges, and private institituions all provide training and education. Of those 3, only two are funded (in part) from tax dollars (private businesses are free market entities). In an economy that is suffering, and where many are out of work, there is (historically) an increased need and demand for training. People who are out of work often want to learn a new skill or trade, ASAP, for as little tuition (and time) as possible. The more tax dollars given to support Community and Technical colleges, the lower tuition can be, which in turn results in more people being able to attend such schools. Which can increase the number of people finding new jobs. Which in turn can result in more productivity and income tax being paid by those workers and their employers. The KBOR President speaking on behalf of higher education included all such public higher education entities (the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) handles and allocates the state funds allocated to those types of institutions. Not just tax dollars given to the Universities). For a list of all such schools in Kansas, check out this web site - http://www.kansasregents.org/institutions/index.html

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Tuesday09 5 years, 9 months ago

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