At other schools
Under the proposals, tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students would increase at:
• Emporia State, 6.5 percent.
• Pittsburg State, 6.4 percent.
• Kansas State University by 5.1 percent.
• Fort Hays State, 3.7 percent.
• Wichita State, 3.5 percent.
Tuition and fees at KU Medical Center are proposed to increase by 7 percent, to $4,158, for a Kansas resident.
The cost of attending Kansas University and the other regents universities would increase next fall, according to proposals submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents.
Incoming KU freshmen who are Kansas residents would pay an additional 4.9 percent in tuition and fees, taking the cost of a 15 credit hour semester at the university to $4,839. Tuition and fees for non-resident freshmen would increase by 5 percent, to $11,874.
Most KU students pay tuition under a compact that guarantees their rate for four years. Transfer students and students who stay longer than four years pay a different standard tuition rate. That rate, combined with required campus fees, is also proposed to increase by 4.9 percent for residents, to $4,443.75, and 6.7 percent for non-residents, to $10,865.
Jeff Vitter, KU provost and executive vice chancellor, said KU’s tuition proposal represented its lowest percentage increase since 1999-2000 (last year, it proposed a 5.5 percent increase). And KU was also trying to balance the importance of moving forward with efforts to improve the university with keeping tuition as low as possible. Among KU’s AAU public university peers, Vitter said KU’s combination of revenue from tuition and the state placed it fifth from the bottom, using the most recent data available.
“As a result, we don’t have the resources we need to do the things we want to do, especially as we try to raise the profile of the university,” he said.
Susie LeGault of Emporia is a parent of an incoming freshman at KU. Her daughter, Emma, will enroll at KU in the fall.
“Being a part of what we would consider the middle class, we’re in a catch-22,” LeGault said. She was surprised to learn that no federal aid was available for her only daughter. “Unfortunately for us, we have saved some money, but not a great deal.”
She said she hoped regents would consider the current economy, and keep in mind that the more they raise tuition, the more kids won’t be able to attend college. Emma will be working two jobs this summer, and both she and her parents will take out loans to help defray the costs.
“It’s going to be tight, no doubt about it,” LeGault said.
KU officials said a committee of students, faculty and staff helped craft the proposal. The increased tuition would generate an additional $14.4 million for the Lawrence campus, including about $970,000 in school-specific course fees and $730,000 for technology improvement.
The university broke down how it wanted to spend the remaining $12.7 million:
• Almost half of the increase, or $6 million, would be targeted for retention of outstanding faculty and staff.
“Even with the salary increases recommended by the students last year which helped stem the deterioration of our salaries relative to our peers, we still lost some footing,” KU’s tuition proposal reads. “As the economy continues to rebound, institutions with which we compete for faculty and staff will continue to aggressively recruit our best faculty and staff.”
So far this year, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has retained 19 faculty who were being courted by other schools, the proposal said.
• About 26 percent, or nearly $3.3 million, for required costs, including $2.8 million for health insurance and other benefit increases, $400,000 in additional utility costs and $45,000 for graduate teaching assistant salary increases.
• A 27 percent increase, or $3.4 million for program enhancements, including several elements of KU’s new strategic plan. Areas that would receive additional funding include first-year seminars, KU’s new common book program, expanded programming for KU’s Honors Program, new study abroad grants and new retention initiatives.
KU would offer $10.1 million in tuition grants to assist low-income students who are eligible to receive Pell Grants, according to the proposal.
The regents typically receive tuition proposals from the universities they oversee in May, and then vote on them in June.