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Archive for Saturday, September 18, 2010

Breakdown of tuition funds still not given

KU Business School review continues

September 18, 2010

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In the wake of continued concerns from a group of Business School master’s students, a review of differential tuition funds at Kansas University is ongoing.

But the university has not yet released a detailed breakdown of how those tuition funds are being spent.

Ed McKechnie, vice chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said that it was important for students and parents to have easy access to documents that show what the university is doing with the money — essentially extra course fees levied by individual schools at KU.

He said he was confident that Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Provost Jeffrey Vitter would get the situation remedied.

“I’m really more interested in how things are going to be moving forward,” McKechnie said. “Just being aware of what went wrong solves only so much of the problem.”

The Journal-World requested a breakdown of how differential tuition funds were being spent at KU in early August, but KU has not yet provided the information. KU officials said initial time estimates to prepare the report were overly optimistic, given that work was started at the same time a new semester was beginning.

In a prepared statement, Vitter said KU was looking forward to compiling the differential tuition report and sharing it with parents, students and the public.

“We are doing our due diligence to complete the differential tuition report in a timely and responsible manner,” Vitter said. “There is no one big pot of data. It does take significant legwork and time to collect information from multiple units and campuses and to ensure that they are accurate, clear and comprehensive.”

Vitter said the university wants to incorporate preliminary results from a review that is under way on the topic of differential tuition in the School of Business.

Earlier this year, a group of MBA students came forward to the KU School of Business with concerns that the money was not being spent according to an original proposal.

At the business dean’s request, an external review of course fees is being conducted at the school. He said the money is being spent properly.

One of the MBA students, David Cantrell, is assisting with the review, but said he could not comment on it because he signed a confidentiality agreement.

Another of the MBA students, Andrew Carlson, said the students wanted to ensure that they received the best possible education.

“We’re supposed to be the example of how you do things right when it comes to business, and right now, we’re not,” Carlson said.

William Fuerst, KU business dean, said in an e-mail that the school continues to be committed to openness and transparency.

“We recently met with some of the MBA students and we will continue meeting with our MBA students because I welcome and encourage questions and ideas about how course fees can be used to continue improving our school,” Fuerst wrote.

Comments

tcohen 4 years, 5 months ago

Here is the full text of the Provost's statement:

"The schools at the University of Kansas, in consultation with their students, have made impressive investments to give our students more educational opportunities, greater access to technology and a distinct advantage when entering the workforce. It is important to examine how the resources from differential tuition have been stewarded, and we are eager to compile and share that information with parents, students and citizens of Kansas.

We are doing our due diligence to complete the differential tuition report in a timely and responsible manner. There is no one big pot of data. It does take significant legwork and time to collect information from multiple units and campuses and to ensure that they are accurate, clear and comprehensive.

Our initial estimates on the time it would take to complete this report was overly optimistic, especially considering we started the work at the same time a new semester was getting under way. We would rather be thorough than rush to meet an arbitrary deadline.

We also want to incorporate the preliminary results of the independent external review that is underway on the topic of differential tuition in the School of Business. It is being conducted by the audit firm of BKD and will be completed soon."

--Todd Cohen, director, University Relations

OutlawJHawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Seems like the transparency mirrors the KUAC's transparency in the ticket office. Goverment employees...gotta love em.

kusp8 4 years, 5 months ago

"Earlier this year, a group of MBA students came forward to the KU School of Business with concerns that the money was not being spent according to an original proposal.

At the business dean’s request, an external review of course fees is being conducted at the school. He said the money is being spent properly."

Talk about reading between the lines... There is NO WAY the dean requested an audit without significant prodding and teeth pulling. Seriously, LJWorld, this is when you need to be all over KU like white on rice. Force transparency, file FOIA requests/ lawsuits if you need to in order to get the information. This is an INCREDIBLY important story. IMHO, I'd say even more important than the KUAC corruption stuff because this directly effects Academics.

PugnaciousJayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Why have the names of the other members on the review committee not been announced publicly? And why are they being forced to sign confidentiality agreements? Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

minordonor 4 years, 5 months ago

As a minor donor to KU and a B-School alum, I have had the pleasure to interact with some of these MBAs over the last couple of months. While they may come on a little strong at first, its clear that they understand the issue and that KU has made a serious blunder in giving them the run around. If I understand them correctly, all they want is:

1) A restatement of all prior financials given the decision of the Dean & Associate Dean to terminate the oversight committee and for failing to keep and/or distribute financial statements.

2) The reestablishment of the required oversight and proper financial reporting going forward.

3) The removal of the Dean & Associate Dean from their current positions for their unethical and very much unprofessional behavior.

In the corporate world, the decision by a senior leadership team of a company to not keep track of 32 million dollars over six years through a failure to produce routine financial statements and the decision to eliminate oversight of a large chunk of their budget would be met with prompt termination. Such behavior is completely unprofessional and unethical. Why should it be any different in the world of academics?

If the Chancellor and Provost knew of half the people that these students have talked to they would be absolutely horrified. If even a quarter of the things the alumni base are hearing are even remotely accurate, it’s pretty clear that there are significant problems in the B-School.

To me it is clear that the Provost should move to terminate the Dean & Associate Dean with cause upon the completion of the Dean's 5 yr review. Such a decision will help to move the Business School forward and set an example for the Dean’s at the other schools as it would show them that KU believes that financial accountability is important.

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