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Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Statehouse Live: Universities lay out tuition, fee increases

University says increase needed to maintain quality after state budget reductions

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little briefs the Kansas Board of Regents on KU's proposed tuition and fee increase.

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little briefs the Kansas Board of Regents on KU's proposed tuition and fee increase.

May 20, 2010, 11:23 a.m. Updated May 20, 2010, 5:53 p.m.

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— Leaders at regents universities Thursday said they need tuition and fee increases to deal with budget cuts from the Kansas Legislature, increased costs and student demands.

KU plans tuition hike

Kansas University is proposing plans to increase tuition by 8.2 percent for the upcoming school year. KU would become the fourth most expensive school in the Big 12. Enlarge video

Speaking to the Kansas Board of Regents, Kansas University’s Interim Provost Danny Anderson said, “We want you to approve the recommendation because we think it will maintain quality.”

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said there has been a steady “de-investment” by state government in higher education since 1985, and that has become more pronounced in the recent budget crisis.

The proposed tuition and fee increases range from 4.1 percent at Fort Hays State University to 8.2 percent at KU for resident, undergraduate students. The increase at Wichita State would be 7.7 percent; Kansas State, 7.4 percent; Emporia State, 6 percent; Pittsburg State, 5.6 percent.

But in KU’s proposal, nearly half the students will see no increase because they are under tuition compacts in which prices are set in their freshmen year and remain the same for four years, school officials said.

The regents received the proposals and will make a decision at their monthly meeting in June. As recommended, the new rates would be in place for the fall semester.

Several regents members said they accepted the need for the increases and noted that student leaders had endorsed them.

Regent Dan Lykins said that in talking with students in coffee shops on Massachusetts street in Lawrence, he heard support for the increased cost of attending college.

“If the state won’t pay, who will? The students are willing to pay for it as long as they know where the money is going,” Lykins said.

But others expressed concerns about the increases, especially new fees, such as the $10 per credit hour fee proposed by KU to improve technology, such as expanding wireless capability.

Regent Ed McKechnie said sometimes the newest technology isn’t needed.

“Let’s make sure we are getting the most absolute bang for the buck,” he said.

And Regent Donna Shank said the increases concerned her at a time when many Kansans are struggling economically.

“I will scrutinize (the proposals) even more heavily this year than I have in the past,” Shank said.

For a resident undergraduate, KU has proposed a 4.6 percent increase in tuition, but that increases to 8.2 percent when adding in the new technology fee. That is the largest increase being sought among the six regents universities, and it means that on a 15-hour course load, the cost will go up from $3,706.85 to $4,012.45 per semester, an increase of $306.60.

Incoming freshmen will face a 6.2 percent increase in the four-year compact tuition rate.

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.

KU officials say even with the proposed increases, the school remains a bargain, ranking 26th in cost out of 34 comparable public universities.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

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wastewatcher 3 years, 11 months ago

The Regents should pay more attention to how they are spending money not raising revenues. They can afford to lay out over a million dollars to pay three retired presidents not to do anything, I wonder how many other folks are on the payroll and performing any meaningful function. A good reporter would find out. Lets control expenses not raise tuition.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 11 months ago

Shardwurm: Interesting points, but education is, IMHO, for the mind and the soul. Money is another matter. People interested only in their future incomes should look at trade and technical careers. Just my take on it. I think people are following their hearts in most educational decisions. If they only think about money, there is a danger we'll end up with some folks I have seen in professions they hate but got the degree because "daddy said to do it;" or "I just want to make money." This can be particularly dangerous when one becomes a medical doctor or attorney for these reasons. KU is still a great bargain, if one takes advantage of the opportunities it presents. In the long run, there is nothing more rewarding than a career well-spent in something you love every day. Mere money and creature comforts will not make up for a miserable life, no matter how many degrees one earns.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 11 months ago

Your ideas sound like big government regulation to me, Shard.

The best idea would to be to make KU private so they can charge as much as they like without nanny-state regulation like you propose.

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toe 3 years, 11 months ago

There is very little tax payer support for higher education. At least not any more. For nearly 30 years, public support for higher education has waned as increases in K-12 and social services has grown. The result has been essentially the slow privatization of "public" universities. Kansas has seen it happen faster than some states because it has a lot of universities for a small population. One thing that has not changed , however, has been the poor pay for educators. No educator at the university level has even remotely seen increases in wages and benefits that match tuition increases. Educators, on the whole, are sheep when it comes to pricing their services. You can freeze and reduce based on inflation, an educators wages, with no push back at all. Do that to police, or firefighter, and you have a revolt on your hands. The public is fortunate educators are dedicated to the job and not to the pay.

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kungfumastah 3 years, 11 months ago

There has never been a better time to consider getting a trade or a craft. You know who isn't starving in this economy? Electricians, mechanics, IT technicians, welders, plumbers, sheet metal fabricators, etc.

There has been an ongoing war on (so-called) blue collar workers, waged by 4-year universities. The world has enough sociology majors, advertising execs, and business econ majors. What the world needs now is people who can build, maintain and repair all the infrastructure that has been broken and/or allowed to decay over the last 20 - 30 years.

Don't get me wrong, if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer you should can't go without higher education. But let's be real, those careers will pay off the tuition costs you will need to incur.

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MyName 3 years, 11 months ago

@Shardwurm:

You seem to be echoing the message sent by the KS Legislature over the past 10-15 years: more room for worthless bureaucratic oversight, but not one penny for actually educating people. How can anyone claim the state deserves more than lip service when both its share of tuition support, and the actual amount of inflation adjusted money supporting state universities in Kansas has been dropping since the 80s.

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 11 months ago

What to do when everybody is out of money?
Raise the Price!

Great strategy.

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malyksmom 3 years, 11 months ago

Right, cuz if there wasn't huge budget cuts like the University wouldn't find another excuse to raise tuition?! Ha! And being a KU student myself, it would just be nice if I could see improvements somewhere BESIDES the athletic fields, dept, etc! Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Jayhawk sports fan and have been since birth but when I attend classes in rooms that still have desks from the 1970's and black chalkboards it is ridiculous and I get very frustrated! My boyfriend graduated from KU in 2008 with a Computer Information Systems degree, and he says his computer classes never even had enough computers for every student to use. So if Ku is going to raise tuition once again, at least put it towards something that I can recognize and appreciate!

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Centerville 3 years, 11 months ago

But, but, "Penny" Parkinson said this sort of thing won't happen, now that we'll be paying the biggest tax increase in Kansas' history. Didn't KU get the talking points?

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sad_lawrencian 3 years, 11 months ago

A college education is not a ripoff, ever, in any economy. And don't pick on sociology majors!

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Shardwurm 3 years, 11 months ago

It's time to reform education. Enough with the healthcare issues. This is getting out of control.

As taxpayer-supported institutions it's time to start requiring universities to provide better quality (e.g. no more grad students teaching classes unless it's for $60 a credit-hour.) They should also be required by law to provide a disclosure statement about the payback time of every single degree program as compared to a skilled laborer.

In other words something like: "Your BA in Sociology will cost you $80,000 over the next four years. A plumber makes $65,000 a year. A BA in Sociology will net you $25,000 a year. Therefore there is no payback on your degree." This should be required and mandatory so not only can parents and students make informed decisions but also to force the University to actually admit that they're ripping people off.

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Richard Payton 3 years, 11 months ago

If education were on the stock market would the value of education be up, down or flat? Is a correction on the horizon?

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Ricky_Vaughn 3 years, 11 months ago

Like tuition ever DE-creases....ha!

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