To the editor:
Ever since I arrived at Kansas University in January 1972, I’ve been impressed by the zeal with which it pursues the goal of maximizing its revenues. I never met an administrator who did not worry about obtaining more revenue and budget. I think that a strong reason for seeking more students is to increase revenues. But, is this a smart policy?
According to the October 17 article in the Journal-World, only 22 percent of KU’s revenues come from Kansas appropriations and 20 percent come from student tuition and fees. Let’s include another generous 8 percent to represent additional net revenues from students. That means that only 50% of the costs of a student are covered by their revenues. It is usually an unwise policy for organizations to seek to expand revenues from sources that cover only half their costs. The imbalance between costs and revenues cannot be improved by greater volume. Diligent pursuit of such revenues impoverishes the organization over time.
Instead of seeking to expand enrollments, the case should be made to do just the opposite. Reducing the number of KU students would reduce its costs, trim the battalions of administrative staff, increase the endowment per student, raise admissions standards, and improve quality. Reducing the number of students would allow KU to redeploy its scarce resources toward achieving academic excellence instead of continued mediocrity and even decline in national rankings.