Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Statehouse Live: KU chancellor questioned by legislators about tuition increases, research

February 7, 2013


— 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.


Roger Tarbutton 5 years, 3 months ago

As research grants and private donations comprise a large stake of the funding for large research universities such as KU, the state contribution rate becomes less relevant. IN other words I don't think claims that there is direct correlation between state funding and tuition increases are accurate.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 3 months ago

My not be DIRECT correlation,but can you deny that tuition has gone UP as State Funding has gone DOWN? Would the increases have been as much had our funding not been cut? I am glad you used the Term "I don't think" the claims are true. There is a lot of evidence that proves otherwise

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 3 months ago

That puts KU between A rock and a Hard spot. "other sources of revenue" are just not what they used to be. Coupled with The State slashing funding AND an economy that is struggling, what other choices do they have?And Yes KU Has been downsizing staff.That resulting savings is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed. I think You are correct that decreased funding from The State did not Directly cause the tuition increases. I DO believe it was one of the most avoidable contributing factors.

Orwell 5 years, 3 months ago

Shorter Legislators: "We won't support you, and we don't like it when you make students pay more, and you shouldn't be doing anything except training future Koch Industries employees anyway."

Yet another legislative FAIL.

conlawgrad 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm glad KU is finally being questioned about their increases in tuition EVERY year...their reason as to why they need to increase tuition is bogus. Maybe the increase in tuition causes the decline in enrollment...I understand that KU wants to recruit the best so increasing enrollment isn't necessarily a big concern but if they want people to come, they have to price their education at what it's worth and I'm not sure if many people think that KU is worth the price if they could land the same job but at a different university and price...

notaubermime 5 years, 3 months ago

While I generally do not like the university ranking systems, here are comparably ranked universities and their out of state tuition and fees according to US News.

97 University of Colorado - $31,378

97 University of Missouri - $23,366

101 Iowa State University - $19,838

101 University of Nebraska - $20,968

101 University of Oklahoma - $18,978

106 University of Kansas - $22,608

If research plays a decision, then neither Nebraska nor Oklahoma are AAU members. Of the four similarly ranked AAU universities in this region, KU compares favorably as far as tuition goes with only Iowa State having lower tuition.

Steve Bunch 5 years, 3 months ago

And historically Iowa has been highly supportive of education at all levels, unlike Kansas.

conlawgrad 5 years, 3 months ago

I was just simply stating that many people, in state or out of state, may have the perception that a degree from KU is not worth what it costs to go to KU. There may be areas in which KU excels like the J-School or the Engineering or Business schools but for the rest of its programs, they may feel that their money is better served somewhere else.

Do I personally think KU is worth depends.

notaubermime 5 years, 3 months ago

I would certainly hope that with the amount of money a degree can cost, one would act on more than just perception. A potential student should have a degree in mind, an idea of what each university has in the way of the degree they are interested in, and be able to compare/contrast whether the tuition at each of the prospective schools will be the most efficient means to advance their goals in life.

Each university has their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to their competitors. It is foolish to commit to a school prior to understanding that.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

And the Kansas legislature cuts their funding every year. You are just drinking the Republican party's koolaid and blaming the wrong people. Try electing pro education people, instead of anti tax people.

Steve Bunch 5 years, 3 months ago

Grant funds can't be used to keep tuition rates down. Those are two different pots of money. The problem is that KU refuses to recognize ways to expand its outreach. There are hundreds, even thousands, of people in Kansas and beyond who would pay tuition to earn a degree online from KU, starting with Kansas community college students who would like a degree completion program. KU still, with a few exceptions, expects students to uproot, quit their jobs, and move their families to Lawrence to get a degree. Moreover, KU used to charge extra for its online courses--charge a premium for the flexibility and convenience, which many students value--but now it costs no more to take a class on campus than it does to take it online. And online students, who used to be able to enroll at any time and have six months to complete now have to go through the admissions process and enroll in semester-based courses. So much for flexibility and convenience. The result is that most online KU students are students on the Lawrence campus. Outreach? Nah.

chootspa 5 years, 3 months ago

Charging an extra fee for distance ed classes was a pretty common practice for most universities when I was researching grad school a couple years back. Not that I agree with the practice.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

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."

So they cut funding to KU, and KU raises their tuition to make up the difference, and fewer people enroll, because the tuition isn't affordable. Cause and effect, Mr. Arpke, don't try and blame it on anything but you Republicans.

chootspa 5 years, 3 months ago

Sure. All KU needs to do to become the next WGU is get 18 more governors to agree to fund it as a multi-state competency based online university.

chootspa 5 years, 3 months ago

Offering more online degrees is not the same as a multi-state, competency based program like WGU.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 3 months ago

It is good strategy to put education leaders on the defensive as the legislature is sabotaging the educational system.

I imagine they hope to keep people confused while they loot the budget and cook the books.

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