Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Heard on the Hill: Regents to look at raising KU admission standards today; Missouri House passes amendment to spike KU plates; provost explains strategy for faculty, staff raises

May 16, 2012


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• I’ll be zipping over to Topeka this afternoon to monitor the thrilling happenings at the Kansas Board of Regents. (OK, so you and I have different definitions of thrilling. I’m cool with that if you are.)

One such happening will be qualified admissions for KU students. Thrilled yet? While that may not thrill everyone, some folks up on the hill have been working on this one for a good long while.

KU has been seeking to separate itself from the admissions standards from the other regents universities in recent years, and the regents gave their blessing to this idea. Low admissions standards come back to haunt KU in a number of ways. To name just one, it’s a factor in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings that are watched by many all over the country. KU will be presenting the new standards today.

Under the existing criteria, a Kansas high school student can get admitted to KU if he or she:

• has an ACT score of 21 or higher or an SAT score of 980 or higher, OR

• ranks in the top one-third of the high school class, OR

• has a 2.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale in the Kansas Qualified Admissions curriculum.

To be automatically admitted under the new standards, students would have to complete the Kansas Qualified Admissions Precollege Curriculum with a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 on all transferable college coursework, up to 23 semester credit hours, along with achievement of one of the following:

• Graduation from a high school with a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative high school grade point average and a composite ACT score of 24 (1090 SAT equivalent).


• Graduation from a high school (accredited, non-accredited, or home school) with a minimum of a 3.25 cumulative high school grade point average and a composite ACT score of 21 (980 SAT equivalent).

Basically, it’s a bit of a trade-off, with higher GPAs earning students some slack on the standardized test scores, and vice versa. Students could also gain admission by way of a review committee, that would look at a number of other mitigating factors.

The board could take action on the new standards as soon as June.

• So, apparently, the folks occupying the Missouri House have seen fit to go so far as to pass actual legislation that would likely kill the chances of having a KU license plate in the state.

The way the process works now, you can either get a plate through an administrative process (which is what KU was trying to do), or get a bill passed through the General Assembly.

In a new amendment to a higher education bill, the legislators would remove the administrative option. Meaning KU would have to get a bill passed. And after all the hubbub in recent days, it’s starting to look like it might be easier for the General Assembly to pass a Casey Anthony license plate than a KU license plate.

• You may have noticed that one of the things KU wants to use its higher tuition for is “retention of faculty and staff.”

I asked Provost Jeff Vitter about how those funds (about $6 million) would be distributed. He told me it would be done in a similar fashion to what happened last year, when KU distributed $5.2 million in tuition funds for merit-based raises.

“It will be merit-based,” Vitter told me. “It will not be across the board.”

Last year, he said the raises were primarily targeted at retaining top faculty and staff who were targets for other universities.

This year, he said he hoped that the raises would be distributed more generally to high-performing faculty and staff who may not have received much of the pot last year but were still performing above expectations.

• While the regents are always a thrilling bunch, they’re never quite as thrilling as your tips for Heard on the Hill. Thrill me anytime at


Gabe Hoffman 5 years, 11 months ago

Surely there is nothing more important to be addressed in Missouri right now then license plates.

mdlund0 5 years, 11 months ago

All I can say about KU raising admissions standards is this: It's about damn time.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

News reports have the costs of higher education raising at upwards of 4X that of health care.

If accurate, then why is this not addressed?

question4u 5 years, 11 months ago

This HAS been addressed, many times.

Private health care is already nearly as high as the market will bear, and also relies on the insurance industry. Public universities, in contrast, have been able to keep costs to the average individual affordable because of subsidies from the state. As state support of higher education decreases, public universities become more like private universities. Most private universities are several times more expensive than public universities, a fact that can be easily checked by consulting any online guide to colleges and universities. KU's tuition is $8,732 while Baker University's is $23,310 , Friends University, Wichita is $20,040 and Bethany College, Lindsborg is $21,677.

As state support for education decreases, costs will go up or quality will go down. Decrying the rising cost of public higher education while applauding decreases in state funding is incredibly naive. After all, you can't have it both ways.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

As state support for education decreases, costs will go up or quality will go down. Decrying the rising cost of public higher education while applauding decreases in state funding is incredibly naive. After all, you can't have it both ways. +++++++ IF the private market was allowed to operate, then its very survival would be dependent upon peoples ability to pay, same with health care. It is when the government gets in the middle and tries to level the playing field is when these adverse things happen. So... you can continue to tax and spend, or we can greatly downsize the unbalanced force and let the market correct itself. If the market is allowed to correct itself, then, and only, then will most be able to afford what they desire.

There are always winners and losers. It is when the government tries to pick them is where the trouble is.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 11 months ago

Seems like Cant_have_it_both_ways wants just that.

A free ride. Something for nothing.

If you want an education, it must be paid for some way.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

Let me share a little secret with you. I am at least 4th generation Kansas. If they were collecting taxes in 1850, then my family has been paying in since then. Now, I worked at least 2 jobs while I was going to college. It just warmed my heart to see all the Arabs in college at that time, driving their new cameros and firebirds, while going to school on the backs of those who worked to make Kansas the place I call home. Since then I have paid off my student loans and taken my place as a productive member of society. I have had some luck, but I am willing to bet I could buy and sell you more than once. I am not one that stops by the liquor store every night and buys a 12 pack I can't afford, and then buy a sack of weed every payday. I have invested and done what I could to get ahead in this world. I don't have a problem with helping those who really need it. I do have a problem with this entitlement society today that basically demands cradle to grave just because they were born.

It is not the decision of the government, you, me, or any group, who gets a college education. Although I also believe that everyone should have a chance, I also believe that that chance should be earned. Competent performers in life are those who have earned their place. Whiners miss their chance usually because of looking over their shoulder for someone to blame for their misgivings. Winners, on the other hand keep looking forward for opportunities.

When I get something for free, it usually comes in the form of an award, a pay raise, or an additional opportunity. You that spend your days blogging or affixing blame for your failures on people like me, generally do not get to the finish line.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 11 months ago

The fact that most private universities charge $20,000 to $40,000 in tuition is a good indicator of market forces at work; that this is the cost of a university education that most people will pay.

After all, private universities thrive despite the lower-cost option of state universities.

The market has spoken about the costs of a university education, and it is between $20,000-$40,000 per year.

LJD230 5 years, 11 months ago

The proposed admission standards are TOO low. Let those kids without the high school creds for admission to KU attend a juco or another four year school until they are prepared to do rigorous undergraduate study at the state's flagship university. There will probably be defecits in enrollment. Offset that by a more aggressive recruitment and enrollment of students from the east and west coast.

What percentage of the most recent graduating class have jobs waiting for them? What percentage will pusue post-graduate study?

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

Missouri, number 1 at something! Meth!

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