Topeka The cost of attending Kansas University will go up for most students under a proposal to increase tuition and establish a new $10 per credit hour fee to pay for technology improvements.
If approved by the Kansas Board of Regents, an undergraduate, Kansas resident carrying 15-hours will see his or her tuition and fees go up from $3,706.85 to $4,012.45 per semester.
The additional $306.60 represents an 8.2 percent increase — the largest being sought among the six regents universities.
The regents will receive the tuition and fee proposals during its May meeting next week. The board will act on them in June. If approved, the new rates will be in place for the fall semester.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said Thursday that the proposal was reached after discussions with students.
“Our students know there are doors that only open with a college degree and have asked us to do everything we can to maintain the quality of the education they receive at KU,” Gray-Little said.
$11 million revenue boost
KU’s total package, including increases at the KU Medical Center, will produce more than $11 million in new revenue, which school officials say is insufficient to make up for $43 million in recent state budget cuts.
In its submission to the regents, KU officials said, “Barring a substantial and immediate increase in state funding of higher education, it will be necessary in future tuition requests for the university to request implementation of a series of significant tuition and fee increases to replace those lost critical state funds.
“We will have no choice but to move from a defensive, maintenance-only position to a more aggressive, funding-replacement posture, a move supported and encouraged by KU’s university-wide tuition advisory committee.”
And for the second straight year, there will be no funding for merit salary increases, KU officials said.
KU noted that 45 percent of KU undergraduates will have no tuition increase because of previous tuition compacts in which the rates for an incoming class of freshmen remain constant.
For other students, the per credit hour tuition rate will increase 4.6 percent for undergraduate residents. In addition they will pay a $10 per credit hour technology fee for a total increase of 8.2 percent. Graduate residents will face a 5.5 percent tuition increase and the new technology fee for an 8.3 percent increase in the cost of school.
Proposed tuition and fee increases per semester for a resident undergraduate taking 15 hours:
• Kansas University (Lawrence campus), $4,012, an 8.2 percent increase.
• Kansas University (Tuition compact for incoming freshmen), $4,366, a 6.4 percent increase from previous tuition compact.
• Kansas State University, $3,538, a 3 percent increase.
• Wichita State University, $2,945, a 7.74 percent increase.
• Fort Hays State University, $1,958, a 4.1 percent increase.
• Pittsburg State University, $2,424, a 5.6 percent increase.
• Emporia State University, $1,807, a 5.5 percent increase.
Tuition and fees for nonresident undergraduates and nonresident graduate students will increase 5 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
Standard tuition rates at KU Medical Center will increase 7 percent.
The new technology fee will be assessed to incoming freshmen and students paying standard tuition rates on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
The fee will be used to expand wireless capability, upgrade technology platforms in classrooms, better utilize data to retain more students, and improve texting and chat options between faculty and students.
“Students today have greater expectations when it comes to technology than students did just a few years ago,” said Interim Provost Danny Anderson. “They expect wireless Internet and classrooms that allow for the full range of learning technologies to be used.”
Michael Wade Smith, who was elected as KU’s student body president last month, said he thought the increases were fair.
“As state support has dwindled, we need to stay competitive with other universities,” he said.
He particularly appreciated the portion of the increase devoted to new technology for classrooms, which he said would benefit students and faculty.
Steven Plummer, a KU junior, is on the guaranteed tuition compact for now, but said he’ll be in school for an extra semester, so he’ll be prepared to pay an increased rate during that time.
He said he wouldn’t mind seeing more wireless connectivity on campus, and was glad money would be devoted to that cause.
“Obviously, I don’t want to just throw money at them, but as long as they’re providing me with services I can use, I don’t mind paying a little more,” Plummer said.
KU said it will continue to provide $8.6 million in tuition grants. In the past school year, 3,768 students were helped through this fund.
And KU proposes using $2.5 million in state fiscal stimulus funds to assist students. During the spring semester, more than 2,000 students received funding through these grants.
“We want to maintain the accessibility to a first-class college education, and though that is made much more difficult by the state budget cuts, this proposal strikes a good balance,” Gray-Little said. “KU remains an absolute bargain nationally.”
KU is also proposing a fixed tuition plan for students pursuing a pharmacy degree. KU officials said its pharmacy program has the lowest tuition in the Big 12.