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Archive for Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kansas Board of Regents hopes to reconnect with legislators over higher education funding

Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Ed McKechnie talks about how the regents will work with the Legislature during the next session.

June 18, 2011

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New scholarship approved

In approving a tuition increase at Kansas University, state officials also approved a new scholarship program designed to attract high-ability students from out-of-state.

The Rock Chalk Scholarship will be available to out-of-state freshmen who score a minimum of 28 on the ACT and have a 3.5 high school grade point average.

KU would grant a partial tuition waiver in which the student would pay less than a typical non-Kansas resident but still more than the tuition rate for a Kansas resident, and more than the actual cost of an education.

The student also would have to maintain a minimum of a 3.4 grade point average at KU to remain eligible for the four-year program.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said many states are establishing similar programs. “There is increasing competition for students and this will help,” in recruiting out-of-state students, she said.

— In the world of Kansas higher education funding, something is not connecting.

And the Kansas Board of Regents, which last week approved a $26 million tuition increase at the six public universities, says it hopes to fix that problem.

During a preliminary discussion on the regents’ next budget submission, Chairman Ed McKechnie of Arcadia put a positive spin on how higher education fared in the recently concluded legislative session that started with the state facing a $500 million revenue shortfall. Higher education sustained a smaller cut after two years of large cuts.

“A lot of folks wish they were in the position post-secondary education was in,” McKechnie said.

But Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt of Inman, who served as regent chair when higher education received annual increases in state funding, wasn’t celebrating. “Isn’t it amazing what we have settled for?” she said.

She said higher education feels like Oliver Twist, asking the Legislature for another bowl of gruel and getting refused.

Downey-Schmidt said the regents have lost their partnership with the Legislature in properly funding higher education. Twenty-five years ago, state funding made up 50 percent of state university budgets; now it’s 25 percent, according to regents’ figures.

That shift has put more pressure on students and their families to bear a greater financial burden.

And Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director Steve Anderson has given the regents a budget projection that shows higher education’s state allotment gaining only slightly over the next five years.

McKechnie and other regents said they need to make it clear to legislators at the outset of the next legislative session that how much the state allocates to higher education has a direct impact on what the Board of Regents does with tuition costs.

“Had the Legislature funded an additional $26 million, would our tuition (increase) today be zero?” McKechnie asked. “That point should be on the table” when the regents make a budget proposal, he said.

Comments

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

The purpose of much education has nothing to do with making money.

Educational institutions should be judged on how well they fulfill their mission, which is to educate students.

Students should be free to decide whether or not they want to go to college, and what field they want to study.

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Jimo 2 years, 10 months ago

"Twenty-five years ago, state funding made up 50 percent of state university budgets; now it’s 25 percent, according to regents’ figures."

Twenty-five years ago, anyone who claimed that lowering taxes increased tax revenues and inspired fountains of prosperity all around would have been laughed out of the room.

The only question here is: is the GOP capable of setting aside ideology and correcting its own mistakes? Is the State going to be run by responsible officials or representatives from Crazytown?

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John Hampton 2 years, 10 months ago

@Doppleganger

The Williams Educational Fund pays student athlete scholarships not you or your taxes.

Nice try at a dig.... yet it fails.

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Alceste 2 years, 10 months ago

It's way past time that Kansas took a serious look at WHY a dinky, 2nd rate state even needs "six public universities", not to mention all the other non-Regents' "schools of higher education.".

Such a waste of funny it's become comical....It's just a bogus industry that is a massive mis-use of depleting resources.

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Doppleganger 2 years, 10 months ago

Eliminate basketball and football scholarships. When is the last time any of them used their 2-3-4 year degrees? The police will have fewer calls which will save the city money. There will also be fewer ticket scandals.

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wastewatcher 2 years, 10 months ago

Well said Kansasfaithful, Mr. Mckechnie was a big tax and spender when he was in the Legislature and is continuing his old habits Why not talk about spending control and having people really work and contribute. Why pay ex presidents and chancellors to do nothing? Lets look at teaching loads and obsolete programs costs. Who says you cannot control utility costs, in fact the institutions utility costs used to be paid by a line item in the states budget, but the institutions wanted to geet a chunk of money and be incented to manage their utility costs so they could benefit from their actions. They want it both ways so they can live good off of the taxpayers.

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Dan Eyler 2 years, 10 months ago

The day of large universities soaking up education dollars is over. When this guy hammers the legislature about additional money for universities he is speaking to me and many others who simply won't continue to support the university setting as the way to educate students moving forward. The universities have grown to the point that the utility bills cant even get paid and buildings maintained. The four year 50,000 dollar education process is doomed. We cannot afford this any longer. Get busy figuring out how to dramatically cut costs yet still provide a quality education. The legislature granted additional tax dollars to train more engineers and I commend that decision. But does it really require KU to build an additional 100,000 square foot building that we now have to pay utilities and maintenance on? Surely current space could have been remodeled. KU has a dramatic reduction in enrollment in the Law School. Why not look at those degree programs that don't support the economy such as Law and re-purpose that space for things like engineering. The bottom line is you're charging an 18 year old $10,000 and more a year for a 4 year degree and you think this is okay, a good value, a future investment. I could call this a fraud. A nations economy that is dependent on a university type 4 year degree in the modern world is doomed to failure as more and more kids and parents search for alternatives to post college massive debt that is completely out of proportion to the value of the education.

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Shardwurm 2 years, 10 months ago

ah...who cares?

Raise taxes AND tuition. The middle class has more money than they know what to do with. There is nothing wrong with 22-year-old kids starting a career in bartending after graduation with $50,000 in loan debt and a useless degree.

It's about the Institution dummy! The impact on the customers means absolutely nothing. The Univer$ity is all that matters. I just don't get why these lemmings don't see that.

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