Fee benefits students, business dean says

July 28, 2010


At Kansas University, our mission emphasizes our commitment to offering the highest quality undergraduate, professional and graduate programs. Recently some questions have been raised about business programs and the use of course fees, previously known as differential tuition, to support this mission.

In 2004, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a student-driven proposal for course fees. These fees have resulted in substantial academic benefits for students, benefits students told us they wanted and were willing to pay for with course fees. The fees are fully disclosed to students enrolling in the KU School of Business, and through their enrollment, students voluntarily pay them to gain access to a quality business education.

As a result, of the hundreds of programs ranked by U.S. News and World Report, our undergraduate program continued its climb, ranking 28th in the nation among public business schools in the magazine’s current rankings, issued in 2009. This year’s rankings have not yet been released by U.S. News.

By any objective assessment, the KU School of Business has been very diligent in the use of course fees to significantly improve the quality of the business education at KU. Where we have fallen short is in maintaining direct student input into the allocation of those fees and in communicating to students how funds are used. After the proposed program enhancements were implemented, we moved to other ways of informing our students about the use of course fees. We did not ensure that the student advisory committee remained active. We acknowledge these alternatives were not effective and have already taken steps to address these shortcomings.

In late April 2010, we communicated to a group of concerned students our commitment to re-establish the student advisory committee with the return of students to campus this fall.

To broaden transparency and resolve any concerns caused by this lapse in communication, last week I requested an external review of course fees usage. On Friday, July 23, the provost granted my request. I welcome this review and I am confident it will answer the questions that have been raised.

Going forward, I pledge to maintain ongoing communication with our students and other interested parties through the KU School of Business website. Today you can see how course fees are used at http://business.ku.edu/Undergraduate-Tuition-and-Fees.

Criticisms of transparency aside, many of our current business students would not have had the opportunity to enroll in our school had these fees not enabled us to expand our enrollment capacity. Since course fees were approved, undergraduate enrollment has increased 21 percent and our master of accounting program has doubled in size.

Our students now enroll in majors made possible by course fees. Previously, only two majors were available in the school. New majors have been created in finance, marketing, management and leadership, information systems and supply chain management. Over the past five years, approximately 1,600 students graduated with one of these new majors that equip them with skills employers seek.

Offering these new majors required an expansion in course offerings and additional faculty. To provide these academic opportunities and expand our enrollment capacity for students, during the last fiscal year, 56 percent of the $6.5 million received from course fees funded faculty positions and another 9 percent went to academic advisers and career counselors.

The original proposal also included $370,000 to be returned to students in the form of scholarships and assistantships. In 2010, $929,000 in course fees was paid directly to more than 200 business students through scholarships and to almost 250 students employed in the school. This support is significantly more than what was called for in the original proposal.

Course fees give students new opportunities such as our “Jayhawks on Wall Street” and “Xplore” programs that provide funds for students to meet and confer with business executives and helpful alumni in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. These opportunities result in a significant number of student internships and job offers.

Our international programs and study abroad opportunities have grown as the school has developed its Institute for International Business. Now, nearly half of our full-time graduate students and a third of our undergraduates study abroad through our extended affiliations with universities and companies in France, Italy, Germany, China and India, among others.

A new entrepreneurship program at both the undergraduate and graduate level has been created, while internships, consulting courses and projects, and new venture competitions allow students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real business situations. Course fees allow the school to offer these and similar experiential learning opportunities across our curriculum.

When the school’s accreditation was extended in 2008, the independent accreditation report praised the school for demonstrating leadership and high quality continuous improvement in management education by providing “a wealth of unique experiences to its undergraduate students, many of which were developed through proceeds of the differential tuition.”

We continue to welcome and encourage student questions and ideas about how these resources can be used to extend even greater benefits to students and continue to improve the quality of a business education at KU.


Thunderdome 7 years, 7 months ago

Should have honored the agreement in the first place and you wouldn't have caused this concern among students.

mysterion 7 years, 7 months ago

I take exception with the Dean's use of the phrase "objective assessment." To date, the Dean and the business school administration have failed to provide any level of objective assessment regarding this matter. I suppose it might be objective in his own mind, but then again, that appears to be part of the problem. What the Dean thinks is acceptable, is certainly not acceptable, and it appears that the students called him out on it.

I would like further clarification of the Dean's idea of what an "external review" is. An external review is not one that is conducted by someone that the Dean retains that is quite possibly "not so independent after all." An external review, by a third party auditing firm, selected by a committee with no relationship to the Business School is the only way to give this process any credibility.

I understand why the Dean felt the need to respond to the earlier submission by the students. However, his response is lacking in any true depth or detail, which is what the students have been requesting for the past five months. His responses also do not answer the core issue regarding the oversight and ultimate acceptability of funds for the purposes stated. At this point, I don't think it is acceptable that this process resume from this date going forward without a complete accounting of what happened in the past. Other programs at the University that receive differential tuition funds have openly and repeatedly complied with all of the terms agreed to when the program was put in place. It is very sad that the program charged with training auditor, accountants and business leaders is the one that has failed in this task. It is also for this reason that new leadership at the program makes sense.

Also, Dean Fuerst is quite incorrect in stating that the 2010 business school rankings have not been released by US News and World Report. They have been out for some time and can be accessed at the following link: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/rankings From this data, it is clear that KU really has hit rock bottom when it comes program parity with other business schools. Differential tuition funds were approved to improve this situation and it is evident, along with all of the other points raised by the students, that the current administration has failed in its attempts to meet these objectives. The request for leadership change is not personal, its simply business. Students that enroll at KU do so with an expectation of receiving value for the tuition they pay. Monday's column was a clear indication by a significant number of students that they do not feel they are getting what they are paying for.

Phillbert 7 years, 7 months ago

Your link is for graduate program rankings. The dean's column and the students' column both cited KU's 2009 undergraduate business ranking of 28th among public universities. According to the big countdown clock on the US News site, the 2010 undergraduate rankings come out next month.

KU_cynic 7 years, 7 months ago

The link mysterion has supplied to USN&WR is for MBA program rankings.

Hate to break it to you, mysterion, but KU has never (repeat, never) been in the top 50 on the list of best MBA programs.

The 28th ranking that the B-School so highly touts is for the undergraduate program. That ranking in part reflects on the B-School's UG programs and faculty, but mostly reflects the school's selective admissions and exceptionally talented undergraduates, the best of whom can run circles around most KU MBA students.

Those undergraduate students, by the way, pay the lion's share of tuition and fees that support the School of Business, probably cross-subsidzing the MBA program.

Thunderdome 7 years, 7 months ago

Kind of unethical for a faculty member to post in this manner. And you are nuts about undergrads subsidizing grad students. Grad students pay quite a bit more per hour than undergrads. By the way, undergrads aren't sold on DT or this Dean either.

KU_cynic 7 years, 7 months ago

Why is it unethical to correct factual errors made by a previous post?

Fact: There are more than 1000 undergraduate students paying differential tuition, and substantially fewer full-time equivalent MBA students.

Fact: Many undergraduate students who aspire to or apply to the School of Business are turned away or "weeded out" by rigorous pre-admission coursework. Having a pulse is about the only admission requirement for the MBA program.

Thunderdome 7 years, 7 months ago

With the exception that there are more undergraduates than graduate students (as there should be), there isn't a single "fact" in your post. There are a little over 1000 undergraduates paying $102.40 in DT and a little over 600 graduate students paying $186.70 in DT per credit hour. The graduate students are paying 82% more per hour, just in DT, for their education to a school that has not lived up to the provisions of an agreement with those very students.

What is unethical about your post as a faculty member is that you should not be generalizing in a very defamatory manner about different bodies of students within the school, many of whom you probably don't even know. Standards for graduate admissions use to be pretty high. If that has changed, your argument supports the case for moving in a new direction regarding the Dean. I am pretty surprised that a presumably tenured faculty member wouldn't make that connection. Maybe its a sign that the standards for tenure are too low as well.

BICMO 7 years, 7 months ago

Having graduated with my Masters in Accounting and having worked with undergrads as a tutor - I'd have to agree w/ cynic about the ability of a majority of our MBA's. You never wanted to get stuck in a group w/ MBA students. Never.

mbaclassof10 7 years, 7 months ago


Funny....that's what MBA's say about MAccs, too.

ku_mba_student 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey Cowardly Professor, stop sneaking around and tell me your real name so I know who to run circles around.

8Majors 7 years, 7 months ago

8 majors. That is outstanding. Keep up the good work Dean Fuerst.

Reid Hollander 7 years, 7 months ago

Many of these so majors cannot even be completed due to the canceling of classes that were part of the curriculum when the student signed up. Changing the rules of the game midway through a students degree track seems unethical to me.

Purplegem 7 years, 7 months ago

The 4th to last paragraph is ridiculous. Many of the business school's best study abroad opportunities will cease with the loss of CIBER and CIMBA.


BICMO 7 years, 7 months ago

We are still part of CIMBA. CIMBA is a consortium of 34 member universities. We are simply no longer the host school. The main reason for that is because the other 33 members wanted Iowa's Tippie School of Management to be the lead so the degree could have that name on it. KU students can still attend CIMBA courses just like they have in the past. They will pay instate tuition and will not have to transfer their credits.

areyousure 7 years, 7 months ago

I believe that CIMBA is still an option. It is just administered by a different university.

janie1954 7 years, 7 months ago

If the students do not like the cost to obtain an education at KU or how KU operates it business maybe they should look at other universities. The choice and decision to go to school at KU was never forced upon the individual.

Thunderdome 7 years, 7 months ago

You may get your wish if the Dean keeps wasting their money.

mbaclassof10 7 years, 7 months ago

How does walking away solve the problem for future students?? Students were undoubtedly given the bait and switch. No one's ever argued that fees are too high. What students talk about is plain deception and lies and significant problems within the school. Until you know what you're talking about, its best to not comment.

Patriot2 7 years, 1 month ago

The fees are fully disclosed to students enrolling in the KU School of Business, and through their enrollment, students voluntarily pay them to gain access to a quality business education.

Kind of like the "voluntary" fee you pay when your given a parking ticket down town! You voluntarily chose to park there........the ticket is the voluntary fee. You voluntarily chose to enroll at KU........."These fees have resulted in substantial academic benefits for students, benefits students told us they wanted and were willing to pay for with course fees. The fees are fully disclosed to students enrolling in the KU School of Business, and through their enrollment, students voluntarily pay them to gain access to a quality business education."

Another term, "Extortion."

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