Topeka Legislators on Thursday expressed concerns to Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little over tuition increases, falling enrollment and the ability of KU to make money off of research.
State Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, said tuition increases at KU over the past few years "stand out to me to be a little excessive."
During the 1999-2000 school year, standard tuition and fees for two semesters was $2,518. This school year it is $8,888.
Gray-Little told the Senate Ways and Means subcommittee on education that because of state budget cuts, KU received slightly less state funding in the current fiscal year than it did in 2006.
She added, "Adjusted for inflation, KU's state funding is down $124.4 million over the past 14 years."
Higher education officials have said part of the reason for increasing tuition is the reduction in state funding.
Arpke also said he is concerned about KU's decrease in enrollment, which has fallen from 30,102 students in the fall of 2008 to 27,939 in the fall of 2012.
State Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, said he appreciated KU's increase in research funding, but added "ultimately that needs to turn into jobs."
Gray-Little said researchers attract more research funding, to which Abrams said, "That is not creating wealth."
Gray-Little responded that 22 companies based in Kansas were formed because of research at KU.
Dr. Douglas Girod, the new executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, voiced support to the committee of Gov. Sam Brownback's recommendation of $10 million in tax funds and $35 million in bonding authority to start construction of a health education building
"Construction of this facility will increase the stature of the Medical Center," he said.