HAYS — Fort Hays State has been collecting about $1.5 million a year from the tuition that students in China pay to attend Fort Hays' classes at universities in China.
Fort Hays State has sent faculty members to two Chinese universities where about 3,500 Chinese students are taking courses leading to U.S. bachelor's degrees. Students in the People's Republic of China pay to take courses for their Chinese degree while enrolled in a separate track for their Fort Hays coursework, The Kansas City Star reported Monday.
Fort Hays charges those Chinese students more for classes than Kansas students pay at the Hays campus in western Kansas. The China students also pay an international fee of about $30 per credit hour.
Fort Hays courses in China lead to bachelor's degrees in several areas, including political science and information networking telecommunications. A bachelor of arts in global business English is scheduled to start this fall.
Under Fort Hays State's program in the People's Republic of China, Fort Hays pays its faculty members there, but the Chinese government gives them room and board. Fort Hays operates out of an existing Chinese college so it incurs no overhead beyond the salaries it would pay anyway.
Ed Hammond, Fort Hays State president, said that state support to higher education has been on a steady decline, and he has "no shame in having China supplement our instruction at Fort Hays."
He said the money from China helps offset costs for students in Kansas. Fort Hays, a public university in western Kansas, has the lowest tuition among schools in several Midwestern states.
Hammond said it costs less than $2,000 a semester for a full-time Kansas student taking 15 credit hours to attend Fort Hays State. That's about $12,600 for a four-year education — or about $1,000 more than an out-of-state student would spend for just one semester at the University of Kansas.
Hammond and other administrators traveled to China several times in 1999 and 2000 to set up the partnership.
"We wanted our degree in China to mean the same as the one issued here," said Cindy Elliot, assistant provost for strategic partnerships.
He said the next step for Fort Hays, which has about 200 Chinese students among the 5,000 on its Hays campus, is to send more Kansas students to study in China.