TOPEKA — As members of the Kansas Board of Regents heard new tuition proposals from Kansas universities, several of them included provisions for raises for faculty and staff.
Regents heard the proposals from the universities on Wednesday but won’t vote on them until June.
Kansas State President Kirk Schulz said that the past four years have been “a really horrible time” to be a high-performing faculty member, as Kansas universities haven’t been able to keep up with the market.
At Kansas University, almost half of its proposed tuition increase on the Lawrence campus would go toward faculty and staff retention.
KU Provost Jeff Vitter said the $6 million to retain top faculty and staff would be distributed in a similar fashion to last year, when KU distributed $5.2 million in tuition funds for merit-based raises.
“It will be merit-based,” Vitter said. “It will not be across the board.”
Last year, he said, the raises were primarily aimed 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.
Several regents expressed concern about declining state support for higher education, but some called for a balance.
Regent Janie Perkins said that while she recognized the need for high-quality programs and faculty and staff, she was concerned about rising tuition costs, too. That was particularly true, she said, for families who made enough money so that they did not qualify for federal aid but still had difficulty affording the cost of attending a university.
“I feel like that gap is getting wider and wider every year,” she said. “I have a difficult time putting that large burden on these families.”