Archive for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Regents ask for tuition freeze

March 12, 2009


Kansas University’s four-year guaranteed tuition plan for its students would be in danger if the state adopts a Board of Regents proposal.

The regents voted Thursday that if the current governor’s recommendations of a 7 percent cut are passed, the board would use stimulus funds to provide a one-year state university tuition freeze for students who are Kansas residents in fall 2009.

However, if the state adopted the proposal, which would apply to students participating in a four-year guaranteed rate plan, KU would not be able to offer the popular fixed rates to incoming freshmen, said Theresa Gordzica, chief financial officer for KU.

“We’re already marketing it that way,” for the incoming class, she said. “We’re going to have to get out in front of it quickly.”

The university would continue to offer the rates to everyone currently in the program, Gordzica said.

State universities would also have money available for deferred maintenance needs under the regents’ plan. Regent Gary Sherrer said that if legislators cut beyond 7 percent, state institutions would need a tuition increase, and he’d be the one to make the motion.

“It isn’t a threat; it’s a reality,” Sherrer said.

The proposal would not affect nonresident tuition or fee increases.

Regents called for KU to come up with potential solutions for its guaranteed tuition compact, including suspending the plan and bringing it back later.


sarahsmilehawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Take away the 4-year compact, and I suspect KU will lose a lot of prospective students from out of state. The out-of-state students seem to be mostly upper middle class, paying for school with a college fund. If you've saved a finite amount for your child's education, you're going to want assurance that what you have put away will cover it. And we all know that out of state students are keeping costs down for those of us who are in-state.

Since the federal government pays all my tuition in the form of grants, I'll probably be fine. Others aren't so lucky.

Orwell 9 years, 3 months ago

OK, evidently I'm not very bright today. How about some concrete examples illustrating how a one-year tuition freeze supported by stimulus funds would preclude a guaranteed rate plan?

KansasVoter 9 years, 3 months ago

scootterxlch's comment made me curious so I Googled KU's endowment, and it's over $1.2 BILLION! Why in the world are they coming to state taxpayers with their hands out when they've got over a billion dollars in the bank? I realize that you're not supposed to spend the principal of an endowment, but times are tough and people need to do everything that they can to get by. If that means bending or breaking the endowment rules, so be it.

rockchalkgrad 9 years, 3 months ago

Just because the endowment is worth $1.2 billion doesn't mean they should spend more money. They have a combination of cash, pledges, and investments that total $1.2 billion. They already provide a lot of support to the university. When you're investments are down 40% (like everyone else) it isn't a very good idea to cash out and go on a spending spree. That would have very bad consequences down the road.

Mike Blur 9 years, 3 months ago

Yeah KansasVoter, spending the principal of an endowment fund is akin to using Social Security funds to invest in the stock market. (Who came up with that harebrained idea?)

KansasVoter 9 years, 3 months ago

I don't know. KU sounds like a panhandler who drives a Ferrari and lives in a mansion. Why should I, as a taxpayer, give that panhandler any money?

rockchalkgrad 9 years, 3 months ago

KansasVoter, I'm not sure where you're getting that impression. If it is due to the money athletics throws around, that is completely separate private money. Their tuition has been on a steep increase since roughly 2003-04 due to state funds not keeping up with costs. There are state owned facicilities that are falling apart because funding hasn't been supplied to address them. I guess if you don't understand why your taxes should go to universities in Kansas then you don't appreciate the opportunity for Kansas residents to receive a quality education. I prefer that our teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, vetrinarians, and engineers can obtain a quality education in the state of Kansas. If the opportunity isn't here, students will go out of state and they will be more likely to stay there.

beawolf 9 years, 3 months ago


Nice post. I still have problems understanding why some continue to "badmouth" KU at every opportunity. For the past 5 years, KU has trimmed budgets, deferred maintenance and reduced expenses. Is there still some trimming to be done? Yes, but now they will be cutting into the meat and programs will suffer. Kansas offers some of the most marketable degrees in the country. Enrollment continues to increase and it's not due to athletics, it's because students know what a KU education will provide them. I think the President said it best, ", a higher education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity--it is a prerequisite." KU is the best asset this state has.

gk83 9 years, 3 months ago

Endowment funds cannot generally be used in the manner proposed in many of these comments. This is both a legal and a practical requirement. Endowment funds are gifts from individuals; almost always for a specific purpose. It is the right of the donor to specify this purpose and not have the money diverted when public funding is in jeopardy. If someone donates money for music scholarships or science lab equipment, that is what it has to be used for. It is just like someone who chooses to donate to an athletic program does not want their gift spent to hire an English professor. Whether I agree with their priorities does not matter; in most cases they wouldn't have made the gift if it could appropriated for other purposes.

beawolf 9 years, 3 months ago


It's good to see you haven't lost the ability to clip and paste.

People migrate to where the jobs are. What has any of this got to do with KU? Because graduates go elsewhere, should KU cease to provide a quality education? Also, the numbers are not that convincing as the net outflow is less than .004% of the population. Half of those went to Missouri, most likely KC. I guess I'm trying to find the relevance of your post.

kgg2000 9 years, 3 months ago

Someone please help me to understand the details of how "athletics" money is separate and private, apart from the school!

Shardwurm 9 years, 3 months ago

The education industry is just like any other business. They've spent themselves into a corner. They use fear and some amorphous discussion about how indisposable they are to wring more and more out of us.

Yet they have no problem telling students with a straight face that a Sociology degree is worth $80,000.

You think we've had trouble with mortgages? Just wait until all these middle-class kids - loaded down with educational debt - enter the workforce and find out there are no jobs.

They won't be able to pay back their student loans. They'll default. They'll file bankruptcy. Or they'll strap their parents (who were forced to co-sign in order for them to even have a chance) with even more debt while they're struggling to make ends meet to start with. Mark my words it's the next crisis.

And all the while higher education still comes forward with their hands out saying they need more...even when Grad students (getting paid $5,000) are teaching a large number of classes while the professors 'research' the week away on a six-figure salary.

It's disgusting.

beawolf 9 years, 3 months ago

"The education industry is just like any other business. "

No it's not. It's a state institution whose primary support comes from sate resources.

"And all the while higher education still comes forward with their hands out saying they need more"

Wrong. State appropriations per full-time student in higher education fell 23 percent in the last decade.

"even when Grad students (getting paid $5,000) are teaching a large number of classes while the professors 'research' the week away on a six-figure salary."

Care to cite any examples? Most grad students earn between $15,000 and $20,000. Almost all of which is funded by research dollars.

If you believe universities do not deserve public funding and should become private enterprises, that's one thing. To blatantly make up stuff to support your argument destroys your credibility.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.