KU funding, by the numbers: Research income largest slice of budgetary pie

As Kansas University officials continue to undertake efforts to spend less, here’s a breakdown of where KU gets its money. These percentages are from the 2010 fiscal year, which ended in June 2010 (2011 fiscal reports haven’t been fully compiled yet), and include all KU campuses (including KU Medical Center).

23 percent — grants and contracts

This area now constitutes the largest single source of income for the university.

Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, said the percentage likely reflects the steady growth — “not spectacular, but steady,” he said — of external research funding in the past few years.

Looking at preliminary data for 2011, Warren said he expected that external research funding would again rise to record levels.

“This is one area we’ve continued to grow in,” he said.

However, he said it’s important to remember that nearly all of this type of funding is locked in for specific uses. It can contribute to the teaching mission, by paying for salaries for graduate students, but use of the money is highly restricted.

“It’s a wonderful story, but it doesn’t mean we have a whole bunch of money sitting around that we can do whatever we want with,” Warren said.

22 percent — state appropriations

The state’s contribution to education continues to shrink at KU, having fallen by more than $4,300 per full-time student, adjusted for inflation, since 1985.

“Obviously, the trend of the last 20 years is not what you want it to be,” said Ed McKechnie, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents.

He said he served in the Legislature for 10 of those 20 years, and on the appropriations committee for four of those years.

“The message that the university delivers just gets lost,” he said. “We need to find out how to communicate that better. If we don’t, we’re going to be destined to live with the same problem.”

The state in recent years has been pretty good at funding what McKechnie called “the boutique things” — such as the job-creating efforts in the School of Pharmacy and School of Engineering.

“The problem is you’ve still got to have kids who can read, do math and chemistry,” he said. It won’t be easy, he said, to reverse the trend.

“If I didn’t think there was a chance, I wouldn’t be serving on the board,” he said. “The goal is to miss the icebergs and not to hit them.”

20 percent — tuition and fees

Tuition comprises the third largest source of revenue for KU overall, but if only taking into account the Lawrence campus, tuition long ago surpassed state funds, said KU Provost Jeff Vitter.

In Lawrence, $248 million came from tuition revenue, and $134 million came from the state.

“That’s the unfortunate reality,” Vitter said.

Tuition costs have increased each year for many years, and more increases are likely as KU needs to maintain an amount of tuition increase in order to sustain its four-year tuition compact.

“We’re trying to be as good stewards as we possibly can,” Vitter said, saying that KU has undertaken a study to try to find new ways to cut costs.

Also, the school needs to increase its enrollments to find more tuition revenue, he said.

“We have the capacity for more students, and failure to have the proper enrollments is really costing the university in terms of the income to pay for the educational mission,” Vitter said.

13 percent — auxiliary enterprises

This area includes money from all of the different revenue entities that go to KU. It includes money from areas such as housing, parking, Kansas Athletics (for student scholarships), Watkins Health Services and KU Memorial Unions.

10 percent — KU Endowment support

The total amount of the KU Endowment Association’s support to KU will likely increase during an upcoming comprehensive campaign, said Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment president.

“We do expect that the dollar amount from KU Endowment would increase during the campaign, but it would be hard to predict whether the percentage of support would change dramatically in relation to other revenue sources,” Seuferling said in an email.

7 percent — other revenues

This area includes areas such as nonendowment gifts that are made directly to the university. These can take the form of in-kind donations, or any donation that a donor gives to a unit directly rather than to KU Endowment.

5 percent — sales and services of educational departments

This includes revenue from summer camps, study abroad programs and sales of supplies to research departments.