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Archive for Thursday, June 25, 2009

Officials approve a 6 percent tuition increase at KU

Officials raise cost, expecting budget cuts

June 25, 2009, 12:24 p.m. Updated June 25, 2009, 2:36 p.m.

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KU set for tuition hike

The board of regents has decided to raise tuition at all of Kansas' universities. Enlarge video

— Anticipating another round of budget cuts, the Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 6 percent tuition increase for many students at Kansas University, and a 7 percent increase on the four-year compact for the incoming freshman class.

“We’ve all been told it’s reasonable to expect additional cuts,” said KU interim provost Danny Anderson. “We felt like we needed to plan ahead.”

Higher education was already hit by a 10 percent cut in the recently completed legislative session, and KU officials say they may face another 5 percent whack in the next week or so because of the ever-worsening state revenue situation.

As an indication of the slumping economy, the tuition rate represented an increase over what KU proposed as recently as last month.

Regent Donna Shank said she feared the newest proposal, which wasn’t publicly unveiled by the regents until shortly before it was acted upon, would make it too costly for some to attend KU.

“The reason we have declining revenues is because Kansans have declining incomes,” she said.

Plus, she said, it was unwise to assume further state budget cuts because no one has been able to accurately predict what the economy will do.

Regent Gary Sherrer also opposed KU’s increase, but blamed the Legislature for continuing the phase-out of several taxes while cutting budgets for education.

“The Legislature absolutely failed its responsibility,” he said.

Both Shank and Sherrer said they could have supported KU’s original request for a 4 percent tuition increase, and 6 percent freshmen increase.

But Regent Dan Lykins said even with the newest proposal, KU and the other regent universities were still “a great buy.” He said without the increase, the quality of the schools would suffer.

Regent Jill Docking said, “It’s clear we are in a ditch,” economically, but added it would be the higher education institutions that would lead the recovery.

In the end, KU got what it wanted by a 7-2 vote with Shank and Sherrer opposed.

The plan will generate $9.8 million, which covers less than one third of the $31.5 million in budget cuts to KU, university officials said.

KU student body president Mason Heilman, a senior from Lawrence, said no student likes to see a tuition increase. But given the fiscal situation, he said, it seemed fair.

“KU is a terrific deal,” he said.

And he said the school’s commitment to continue the compact system helps students plan their finances. Under the compact, the tuition rate for incoming freshmen is fixed for four years.

Since the compact system started in fall 2007, more and more students are included and therefore don’t see annual increases. So, 40 percent of undergraduates will see no increase.

But there are still some students not included in the compact, generally seniors and transfer students.

The tuition increases for the other regents schools ranged from Kansas State University at 3.9 percent to 8.5 percent at Wichita State University for resident students.

Kansas higher education institutions would have faced even worse financial conditions without getting approximately $50 million in federal stimulus funds.

The regents voted 5-4 to distribute those funds to the schools with the direction that two-thirds be spent on deferred maintenance projects and one-third on either deferred maintenance or programs to help mitigate tuition costs. Docking described the federal stimulus funds as a “blessing.”

Comments

maxcrabb 5 years, 6 months ago

Ah, yes, "future" cuts.

Where we hedge our bets and pray for the worst, because hey, we prepared for it!

ralphralph 5 years, 6 months ago

They're pricing themselves out of the market.

Ken Miller 5 years, 6 months ago

Regents better get what they can now because the legislature is going to hack higher education to bits next session. Can't say I feel sorry for KU, K-State et. al., though. Belt tightening's a-comin and state lawmkers are pulling the leather.

valgrlku 5 years, 6 months ago

Agreed, Ralph.

Tuition keeps rising, but as long as I've been at KU (for both undergrad and grad), I haven't see any recognizable improvement in my "educational quality." As far as I can tell, the current "quality" is on par with my undergrad experience, which began almost 20 years ago (when one could take unlimited hours including fees for about $800 a semester - I now pay almost $3K in-state for 9 grad. hours and fees per semester!!!).

What exactly are these "cuts" that were made, and where will the increased tuition revenue be used?

BigPrune 5 years, 6 months ago

Increased tuition means increased enrollment. Increased enrollment because of the horrible economy - Fact: more people go back to school during a recession. Fact: more people go to a school that is a little higher priced because the impression is they are getting more for their money. It's proven marketing psychology.

The question is: When will the City of Lawrence require students pay an impact fee for living here, like $150 per student per semester, so the full time residents stop subsidizing the wear and tear on the infrastructure the students create in our community?

petes 5 years, 6 months ago

Poor kids. Keep raising it and they will just not go to college. Nice way of taking care of the future of the country. Why is everyone taking a pay cut or losing jobs and the university is increasing tuition. Is it because most of the college kids take school loan?

middleoftheroad 5 years, 6 months ago

While its not ideal, 6% given the current economic situation, isn't horrible. Alabama raised tuition by 17% last year! It could be much worse. Many institutions seem to be on par with the 5-8% range. I think anyone who is at all familiar with public education would have seen this coming.

I don't think any of us should be shocked by this given that the cost of everything else we pay for is going up. Gas prices are rising again but the quality is staying the same. I'm paying more for electricity but I'm not getting higher quality electricity. Sadly, these are also affecting colleges/universities around the country. It costs more to heat/cool buildings, it costs more to insure faculty/staff, the list could go on and on.

KU_cynic 5 years, 6 months ago

First, KU remains a relatively low cost state university, so quit your moaning.

Higher education suffers from a lot of the same intrinsic problems as health care, and consequently it keeps getting more and more expensive.

First, like health care education is very labor intensive and relatively unaffected by labor-saving productivity enhancements that have reduced costs in other segments of the economy. Perhaps we'll soon reach the tipping point where on-line education really takes off in a credible way, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Second, like health care education is plagued by a "third payer" problem. Universities can charge more and more knowing that much of the costs are borne by price-insensitive affluent families or by government that subsidizes less affluent families via financial aid and loan programs.

worker_bee 5 years, 6 months ago

well, frak. can't say i'm surprised, though. raising tuition--one of ku's time-honored traditions.

Daniel Kennamore 5 years, 6 months ago

BigPrune, asking for an 'impact fee' is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on these forums. The amount of revenue KU brings to Lawrence is far more than $150 a student...factor in all the revenue Lawrence would lose is KU didn't exist, not only in property taxes but students shopping around town...not to mention people spending money in town on game days.

Perhaps you should start having to pay a fee for the added finances the university brings here instead.

Bubarubu 5 years, 6 months ago

As long as the state continues to cut support for higher ed, then the burden for higher ed will get shifted to tuition. It's not a new thing, it's not solely related to the ongoing recession/downturn/econopocalypse and associated cuts, but it's been a 30 year trend. That's why perceived quality hasn't gone up (@valgrlku), because neither has the relative funding. Every cut from the state has to lead either to less being provided or more tuition charged. Additionally, as the existing state funding becomes ever less secure (not only does KU not have enough, but its ever more likely that it will be cut), they have to hedge their bets with tuition. Your preference would be fewer profs for more students? Isn't the complaint already that classes are too big for students to have access now? Fewer custodial/facilities staff? Because the buildings are in plenty good shape now, and would really benefit from a few firings (not to mention Lawrence would really do well from more unemployment). Fewer administrators? Maybe, but since they're the ones making the decisions, it seems unlikely, and someone would still have to do their jobs, it would fall to the faculty to pick up more of that burden, leaving them even less time to interact with students.

parrothead8 5 years, 6 months ago

EVERYTHING has increased in cost over the last 5, 10, 20 years. Why do you expect tuition to be different?

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone believe that public higher education won't eventually become completely taxpayer subsidized? Taxpayers already cover over 50% of the actual cost to educate a student. (Can anyone say welfare for rich Johnson County students?)

I could be wrong, but I think the country's current glide path is leading us straight toward 100% taxpayer-funded college educations.

vega 5 years, 6 months ago

I am just listening on the radio how "luv gov" had his Argentina trip paid by the state, do yhese people pay for anything? I guess he and his wife don't have to figure out how to get their 4 kids through college etc.

George_Braziller 5 years, 6 months ago

KU Cynic - What about those of us who didn't have affluent families but still weren't eligible for financial aid or loans because our parent's made just a few too many dollars even though we were paying for everything out of our own pockets. I worked every possible hour I could while taking a full load of classes. If I was starting college right now there is no way I could swing the current KU tuition rates and would look someplace else for an education.

KU_cynic (Anonymous) says… Universities can charge more and more knowing that much of the costs are borne by price-insensitive affluent families or by government that subsidizes less affluent families via financial aid and loan programs.

Graczyk 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm not sure if I agree that the Reagents are pricing themselves out of the market. Out-of-state tuition at most schools is 3 times what the in-state students pay. Private schools (at least in my experience) are also more expensive. State school are still the best choice for a student focused on a 4 year degree. Of course, higher tuition could lead some students to chose trade or technical schools instead. And then, yes, the Reagents would be out of the market.

Bubarubu 5 years, 6 months ago

STRS: "Does anyone believe that public higher education won't eventually become completely taxpayer subsidized? Taxpayers already cover over 50% of the actual cost to educate a student."

Provide proof for this statement or come back to reality. State support for higher education has dropped for three decades. Currently, the state provides less than one-third of budget for higher education. At KU specifically, the number is closer to 22%.

MyName 5 years, 6 months ago

@STRS:

Does anyone believe that public higher education won't eventually become completely taxpayer subsidized?

Well apparently no one in the legislature shares your "opinion" since they've been cutting the funding (both actual and relative to inflation) for decades. And I'd love to see your source for that "50% of the actual cost" statistic you plucked from the air.

If anything, the state has been pushing to privatize our public universities for years.

Sigmund 5 years, 6 months ago

Machiavelli_mania (Anonymous) says… "My advice: Go to college over the internet."

My advice is go to Johnson County Community College. And costs are not going down soon. The congress is about to pass cap and trade global warming carbon tax on energy. By itself it is the largest tax increase in history and will impact everyone, and KU will not be immune. Unless they put windmills and solar panels on every square foot of land (not a small inexpensive or attractive proposition) KU tuition will go up 10-15% just to cover electricity, gas, diesel, etc. The US is quickly becoming a third world country with its own Tin-pot Dictator.

Shardwurm 5 years, 6 months ago

Higher education is a scam. They'll tell you a Sociology Degree is worth $80,000 and do it with a straight face.

What you just got, folks with children, was equivilent to a tax increase.

On behalf of those who struggle to pay tuition - the Middle Class - thanks! Obama should nationalize eduction before health care.

Sigmund 5 years, 6 months ago

JSeraphim (Anonymous) says… "FYI: KU is NOT a “terrific deal.”"

Correct, it used to be a first class "Teaching Institution" and a damn good value. But under the last Chancellor KU became a also ran "Research Institution" and overpriced one at that.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 6 months ago

buba,

I can't find my reference right now and I've got to leave for a sales meeting (pesky capitalism, you know!)

I guess I'd ask you guage your level of outrage over wealthy students attending public universities for 33% less than the actual cost of educating them.

Also, poorer students usually qualify for financial aid (taxpayer subsidies) despite the relatively low burden of carrying a student loan after graduation. If you want it, pay for it.

And how about those students who simply flunk out of public universities. Why should they receive a subsidized education for their semester or two of play time? Laziness becomes more affordable when it's someone else's money at stake.

And where's your frustration over the adults who never go to college but are forced to pay for your kids' BA in the performing arts?

Our funding mechanism for the public university system is incredibily inefficient.

wlbjayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

Cost Increases:

Every time that there is an increase in the cost of anything there is an out cry.

In New York City, they are complaining that the Rent Control Board should not have approved rent increases the other day.

Everyone complains on a daily basis about the changes in the cost of fuel, food, clothing, health care, insurance, tickets to sporting events, and one can go on and on.

What drives some of these costs is the users of those services. What drives some of the costs is also the greed of those providing those services. Take for instance professional sports. There is no one that is worth $65 million dollars, I do not care who they are, and if we would boycott things like professional baseball, football, and basketball, maybe they salaries would decrease and the cost of tickets would be affordable.

What does this have to do with the tuition at KU or any other university? The answer is simple. The cost of fuel, the cost of salaries, insurance, and the cost of health care, are all costs for any university. As those cost increase, so must things like the tuition at KU.

As far as I am concerned even with the increase in tuition, an education at Kansas is still a bargain.

Bubarubu 5 years, 6 months ago

STRS--I'm not at all outraged at the state providing a discounted education to all of its citizens. Education is the textbook example of a public and private good. The more people in the state who are educated, the better. If those are children of poor and middle-class families, good, and if they are the children of wealthy families, good. Just all sorts of good all over. The only reason to remove the subsidy from higher education would be if higher education only benefited those who directly receive it. Fact is, education is good because it leads to innovation, it leads to the careers that are necessary to the functioning of society (think doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.), it improves the prospects of the state as whole. Investing in education gets great returns. Failing to do so leads to a situation in which only the wealthy have an education, and with no cultivated intellectual/entreprenurial merit in middle and lower classes, they have no reason to innovate or adapt.

As for those students who flunk out, there are two solutions: ensure that once they get there, failure is literally not an option OR ensure that those who might fail never get the chance to succeed. The former solution would devalue a college education to the point where is becomes functionally meaningless while the latter would only increase the real and perceived elitism of the university without any reliable criteria for predetermining such elitism. Students who drop out of college early in their educational careers (at least from large state schools like KU and KSU) have also spent most of their time in large classes, which are pedagogically questionable, but very cost-effective for the institution. Additionally, the four year compact at KU means that students are paying over-value for their first couple of years. If they drop out in the meantime, the effect of the subsidy is considerably reduced. I'd think you'd be all for that.

I'm not at all frustrated that adults without a college education contribute to the subsidy for public higher education, because those adults benefit from it as well. They have doctors at nearby medical facilities, teachers in their kids' schools (both for math and theater), writers for their newspapers, and librarians to check out books written by authors who went to university-sponsored workshops and retreats. That's not to mention businesses run by competent managers and overseen by diligent accountants to employ them, of course.

So, the question is, by what standard is higher education inefficient, and should efficiency really be the goal? Since the only outlines you've got of an alternate system are "if you want it, pay for it," I would guess that your model of efficiency rewards inherited wealth over merit (poor kids can be pretty smart too, you know, but heaven forfend they get a scholarship--subsidy?-to fully develop that potential).

Sigmund 5 years, 6 months ago

Shardwurm (Anonymous) says… "Higher education is a scam. They'll tell you a Sociology Degree is worth $80,000 and do it with a straight face."

Well you have to have a straight face if you are going to then tell your students to go get a government backed $80,000 loan. $80,000, think of the amount of debt you will be forced to pay back as you graduate and are looking for a job. BTW, did I mention that Sallie Mae is going to go the way of the massive defaults and taxpayer bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

wlbjayhawk (Anonymous) says… "As far as I am concerned even with the increase in tuition, an education at Kansas is still a bargain."

Compared to what and are you including in the value the subsidies students parents provide via taxes? At $1.00/ride the empTy may appear to be a "bargain" for the rider but not so much when you include the additional $8/ride in taxes spent by Lawrence taxpayers.

Sigmund 5 years, 6 months ago

State provided subsidies and government backed student loans drives the total cost of education up not down just like the mortgage interest deduction and government backed home loans drove housing prices up (more cash from liar loans chasing limited resources).

Without subsidies colleges and universities would be forced to keep their prices as low as possible in order to attract sufficient students and still cover their costs. With government subsidies these institutions no longer have any incentive to keep their costs under control and they rise without any constraints to the point that only the rich can afford it. The result isn't better education, just more expensive education.

MaryKatesPillStash 5 years, 6 months ago

Valgrlku, you say you paid $800 20 years ago, and $3000 now.

Average price of 1 gallon of gas in 1989: $0.80 Average price of 1 gallon of gas in 2009: $2.40

Median price of 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in 1989: $113,000 Median price of a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in 2009: $274,000.

I could go on, but the point is that things change over time.

I know it's comparing apples to oranges, but I started my collegiate career at Georgetown, paying $39,000 a year as an undergraduate. I transferred to KU and finished 3 years of undergrad (averaging 19 hours a semester) and then added 2 years of grad school and STILL spent less than half of what I did at my time at Georgetown. Would a degree from Georgetown have gotten me farther in my career than my degrees from KU? Right now...I'm thinking no.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 5 months ago

Wait until Obama's cap and trade cost kicks in, we're all screwed. Hope and change: I hope for change in 2010 before its too late to save the republic.

boltzmann 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says… "State provided subsidies and government backed student loans drives the total cost of education up not down just like the mortgage interest deduction and government backed home loans drove housing prices up (more cash from liar loans chasing limited resources).

Without subsidies colleges and universities would be forced to keep their prices as low as possible in order to attract sufficient students and still cover their costs. With government subsidies these institutions no longer have any incentive to keep their costs under control and they rise without any constraints to the point that only the rich can afford it. The result isn't better education, just more expensive education."

So this is why tuition at private schools is so much lower than that for state institutions. Now I understand. Thank you for clarifying this for me.

james bush 5 years, 5 months ago

KU can add a curriculum in community organizing and it will qualify for Obama's people in Americorps. Tuition subsidies will come flooding in with Michelle Obama controlling the Americorps leadership. By 2012 the college -trained Obamacorps will be fully ready to contribute to Obama's re-election.

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