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Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Regents approve ‘Kansas Commitment,’ a $50 million plan for higher education

Board will now lobby Legislature for approval

A KU student leaves Strong Hall on the Kansas University campus on Tuesday and passes a reflection in a stone sculpture pedestal. The Kansas Board of Regents is considering a plan that would allow universities to keep state sales taxes collected on their campuses as a way to raise scholarship funds.

A KU student leaves Strong Hall on the Kansas University campus on Tuesday and passes a reflection in a stone sculpture pedestal. The Kansas Board of Regents is considering a plan that would allow universities to keep state sales taxes collected on their campuses as a way to raise scholarship funds.

September 15, 2010, 3:14 p.m. Updated September 15, 2010, 5:22 p.m.

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— Kansas higher education officials on Wednesday recommended a $50 million increase in state funding to post-secondary schools and allowing universities to capture state sales taxes on their campuses to raise funds to help students on tuition and fees.

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Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park called the proposed "Kansas Commitment" an "amazing document."

The board approved the plan on a unanimous vote and now will lobby legislators to approve it during the session that starts in January.

During the past two years of record decreases in state tax revenue, state funding to higher education has been cut from $853 million to $751 million, a drop of more than $100 million, which is equal to 12 percent.

Under the recommended funding plan, the regents will request:

-- A $20.5 million increase in funding for inflation during the past three years.

-- Restoration of $15 million of funds that were cut from deferred maintenance of buildings and infrastructure at state universities.

-- Restoration of $750,000 in no-interest loans for deferred maintenance at Washburn University and community and technical colleges.

-- Providing $14.15 million in state funds for a systemwide program to help develop the state economy and workforce. Under this plan, universities would have to provide a $7.1 million match. Kansas University, Kansas State and Wichita State would be tasked with producing an annual increase of 490 engineering graduates, up from a five-year average of 875 graduates per year. KU Medical Center would be called on to produce more nurses and doctors.

As part of its legislative package, the regents also supported creation of a $10 million need-based student financial aid program for university students. The program would be funded by recouping $6 million in state sales taxes on purchases made on campuses, plus $4 million provided by athletic departments.

Regents' spokesman Kip Peterson said the plan is designed to help low- and middle-income students.

Kansas ranks 36th in the nation and last in the Big 12 in per capita state need-based financial aid per student, he said. Meanwhile, student debt continues to go up. In 2008, 62 percent of graduates from public universities had student loans, and the average student debt was $20,200, which is 20 percent higher than in 2004.

Peterson said a recent report shows that total student loan debt has reached $850 billion nationally, exceeding total credit card debt of $828 billion.

Under the proposal, the assistance would be available in the form of a loan to students whose families earn at or below the statewide median family income, which is currently $50,174 per year. Students who live and work in Kansas for a certain amount of time would be eligible for complete loan forgiveness. That amount of time hasn't been determined yet.

Regent Janie Perkins of Garden City said she believed the proposal would help.

"There are a lot of students out there who without this help are not going to be able," to attend college, she said.

Comments

jimincountry 3 years, 7 months ago

LJW, how about publishing the KU, and other regents institutions', budgets for everyone to see. And then, do an article on it.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 7 months ago

Here comes another claimant posturing for more money from the rest of us. Is this request real given the possibility of a Republican Governor?

Perhaps someone out there can save me the trouble of looking up Regent Budgets. Is the large cut touted, which might justify an increase if real, taken from the actual budget of the previous years or from the inflated budget request for the new years? Remember inflation has been essentially zero suggesting that no increase is needed to maintain level services

Did not a number of the Regent schools raise tuition rates? Did that get counted in this tale of woe?

How much have the regent schools committed to salary and longevity increases (whatever called)? Many of us who are nominated to pay for all of this have not seen increases in a number of years.

I cannot help but feel that once again a government entity supposedly accountable to all of us is reverting to an advocacy role with data that, at least first blush, is suspect? See earlier blog at: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2010/sep/5/what-is-the-role-of-an-el/

Oh well - I am here to be shorn!

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jayhawk_93 3 years, 7 months ago

"Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty." --Thomas Jefferson

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1arrowheaddrive 3 years, 7 months ago

In stead of using sales tax collected on Universities for scholarships, I prefer using it for deferred maintenance.

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autie 3 years, 7 months ago

a recommendation. only a recommendation.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 7 months ago

$50 million is a pittance compared to what KU actually needs.

$50 million would just begin to upgrade research faciities at KU to levels comparable to their peers at Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Sad, sad, silly Kansas.....

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nschmi04 3 years, 7 months ago

Like Zealot Shewmon, Lawrenceguy40 is out doing nothing productive but soliciting war between the American people.

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Keith Richards 3 years, 7 months ago

That's hilarious. I almost forgot before this first moronic poster reminded me that KU, all of its admin, staff, and students are all Liberals. There isn't a single republican to be had on the hill as crazy as it seems. Just like there isn't one working neuron in Lguy's brain.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 7 months ago

Your magnanimity is heart-warming, LG40. Caring about the concerns and needs of those very different from yourself, as evidenced by your continuous posting on this site.

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lawrenceguy40 3 years, 7 months ago

So we are paying an extra cent in sales tax for a State that told us it was beyond broke and now this! What a waste of money. Keeping the idle liberal elite on the hill happy at the expense of the hard working taxpayer. Disgusting!

Remember this disgraceful expenditure in 47 days.

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