Archive for Monday, September 13, 2010

Plan would allow universities to keep sales tax to raise scholarship funds

September 13, 2010


The Kansas Board of Regents this week will consider a plan that would allow universities to keep state sales taxes collected on their campuses as a way to raise scholarship funds.

On the street

Should sales tax generated on campus go toward scholarships?

Yes because I feel the scholarship program needs to be expanded to better reward students for doing well in high school.

More responses

In other matters, the board, which meets Wednesday and Thursday, will decide whether to give pay raises to university chief executives, who saw their salaries frozen last year because of state budget problems.

The regents also will consider designating Gene Budig as chancellor emeritus at Kansas University. And the regents will hear an update from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on the KU athletics department.

The sales tax proposal is among several aimed at enhancing higher education funding.

During the past two fiscal years, state funding to state universities has been cut by approximately $100 million, or 13 percent.

In preparation for the 2011 legislative session, the board is considering a revenue package increase that includes additions of $20.5 million in the system-wide operating grant, $15.75 million to take care of building repairs and renovation, and $14.5 million for a workforce and economic development initiative.

And in an effort to help more students with tuition, the board has discussed creating a need-based financial aid program for students who do not qualify for Pell grants and whose family income is below the state's median level.

The program would be financed by recouping state sales tax collected on state university campuses and by a state university match. About $6 million per year in state sales taxes is collected on campuses at bookstores and other outlets.

The board is scheduled to finalize its budget submission to the governor's office and Legislature on Wednesday.


d_prowess 7 years, 7 months ago

Why would the Regents give the school chancellors/presidents raises when none of the employees got one? It seems like that would be a weird thing to do.

nobody1793 7 years, 7 months ago

My guess is that is just a procedural thing they have to do every year, and that no one is seriously considering it. But it makes good outrage material for the media.

KU_cynic 7 years, 7 months ago

Both KU and KSU have new leaders, with newly negotiated pay levels. It would definitely be bad for faculty morale if the new leaders got pay raises after an initial year with no real accomplishments to show for it.

Perhaps the regents are talking about pay for leaders other than at KU and KSU?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

A new sales tax for on campus needs to be created. Students will helping themselves.

Giving away existing tax revenues may well set up tax payers for some kind of a tax increase elsewhere to cover the loss.

In addition encourage universities and the state to create tax deductible donations for academic students to cover tuition,books,rent and utilities.

Tax dollar money should somehow be made available to Community College and Vo-Tech students.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill's default position = create a new tax.

What about a lawn care and landscaping tax? Perhaps an inability to use a comma tax or a cut and paste tax?

Prof_of_HARDNOX 7 years, 7 months ago

so is that anything like wealth redistribution - taking all that money that SHOULD and still COULD go into the general fund for their own PET PROJECTS? -- and then the taxpayers get SCREWED YET AGAIN to make up the difference so the elists get to take tax money and piss it away on the MUCH MORE DESERVING FULKS- (buying MORE VOTES FOR THE DEMOCRAT PARTY WITH LOTS OF NON-DEMOCRAT MONEY! - funny how that worx

CANCHA JUST GUESS what they the CRAPSTORM would be if others (those DESPICABLE people in the private sector that ACTUALLY CREATE THE WEALTH) got to effectively steal by no longer paying into the general fund for their for their priviledged agenda----boy would they be jacked up with the HATER SMEAR. there's your EQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW brought to you AGAIN but the LEFTIST, EXTREMIST, ELITISTS.

Oh BTW - will your gene buddy get a big fat salary for doing nothing but voting they way the majority wants him to?!?!?

Keith 7 years, 7 months ago

"cancha just guess what they the crapstorm would be if others (those despicable people in the private sector that actually create the wealth) got to effectively steal by no longer paying into the general fund for their for their priviledged agenda----boy would they be jacked up with the hater smear."

Though the above was nearly incoherent, I wanted to point out that this is already allowed, they're called Economic Improvement Districts.

Centerville 7 years, 7 months ago

Why not take this to its logical conclusion and let everyone keep the earnings that he/she would otherwise spend on sales tax? That way everyone would get a raise!

Shardwurm 7 years, 7 months ago

And the Education Industry churns forward, consuming everything in its path and smugly telling us that it's about education and young Americans. LOL.

firebird27 7 years, 7 months ago

Is there a sales tax on game tickets? That is a good amount of revenue considering a football ticket can cost $80.

whynaut 7 years, 7 months ago

Good question. That's a lot of money. Don't forget the cost of basketball tickets is pretty high too ($60 to $340 for men's regular season). But the athletics dept. seems to often have a bubble around it when it comes to money. Furthermore, a lot (most?) of the tickets are not actually purchased on campus.

Any info on this Mr. Rothschild?

However, concessions and merchandise sold at games may be an amount worthy of consideration.

Books and supplies could bring in some revenue as well. KU main campus enrollment is a little over 25,000, and from personal experience, I'd say a conservative average on the cost of books and supplies is about $300 per student. State sales tax is 6.3% , so (25,000 * 300 * 0.063) = $472,500.

Of course, I'd be willing to bet that less than half the students purchase their books and supplies at either of the two bookstores on campus, and most will probably get them online within a few years.

I'd be interested to see some revenue predictions for KU and other universities. I know of some colleges whose campuses are merely a set of disparate buildings with virtually no commerce going on at all. The sales tax generated would be trivial. So not only would the biggest universities, with large enrollments and athletic programs, benefit the most, but many smaller universities probably wouldn't benefit at all.

whynaut 7 years, 7 months ago

How about this?

  • Put all sales tax from university campuses into a General Kansas Higher Education fund.

  • Divide the money into scholarships of equal amounts.

  • Distribute the scholarships to Kansas public school districts as a function of enrollment numbers (e.g. X scholarships for every Y number of students in grades 10-12).

  • Scholarships are available to ANY graduating student who attends ANY state university for at least 2 years.

  • Scholarships are paid out in 4 semester installments. Students who cease to be enrolled in a state university forfeit the remainder of thier scholarship and the money goes back into the state wide fund to be used for the same purpose next year.

  • All scholarships MUST be awarded.

  • Additional criteria for awarding the scholarships may be implemented by individual school districts as long as it does not undermine any of the above rules.


  • Because all scholarships MUST be awarded, most of the generated sales tax money will be put directly back into the state university system in the form of tuition. Redistribution of state sales tax money from one university to another would be determined by market forces already at work.

  • Unlike programs such as "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top", there are no losers. School districts are not punished for lack of achievement. Districts lose scholarships as their enrollment drops, and regain them as enrollment rises.

  • Because the individual school districts are responsible for any additional criteria for awarding the scholarships:

    • the state is relieved of the administrative costs of coming up with qualifying criteria and selecting recipients
    • the district can structure the criteria in a way to incentivize students where they feel is best, instead of where a larger governmental body thinks is best.
  • By requiring recipients to attend universities in the state, brain drain on Kansas is reduced.

  • Because the student can choose to attend ANY university in the state, they have more freedom to choose an institution that suits them best. This reduces the influence that the availability of scholarships (or a lack there of) from a given university has on their decision of where to attend. Also, having more options to choose a better fit increases the probability of success.

  • Scholarships are among the wisest of investments. They provide opportunities to more students. They relieve financial burden on students and their families. They take the place of loans (i.e. reduce future debt) for students after college. They help to educate the next generation. (I won't belabor the value of education, except to point out that it increases with age.)

whynaut 7 years, 7 months ago

Other Ideas:

  • The state could also retain a portion of the scholarships for attracting students from out of state. The state would then be responsible for determining the requirements and selecting recipients for those scholarships.

  • Instead of being payed out in semester increments, the scholarship could go into an interest earning Escrow account. The student could use as much or as little of the money for higher education cost, at any time within X years after high school graduation, after which, all remaining funds are returned to the general fund for the same purposes next year.

  • Non-public institutions would probably call foul, and that makes sense because sales taxes are paid by everybody. I'm not sure to what degree the state subsidizes private education, but scholarships could be allocated to private institutions using a similar formula. The main thing is that the money is put to work to directly benefit Kansas students, and indirectly benefit the Kansas school system overall.

Any thoughts?

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