Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Regents blast higher education budget cuts approved by Legislature, say tuition will increase, call on Brownback to veto portion of cuts

June 6, 2013, 10:19 a.m. Updated June 6, 2013, 3:25 p.m.


— College students at public universities in Kansas will pay more in tuition because of budget cuts to higher education that were approved by the Legislature, officials said Thursday.

In considering proposed tuition increases at Kansas University and other universities, Kansas Board of Regents members roundly criticized the budget cuts approved this weekend by Republican legislators.

Short-sighted, vindictive, hypocritical and irresponsible were just some of the adjectives used by regents to describe the $66 million, or 5.7 percent cut to higher education over the next two years.

The appropriations bill includes a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut for each of the next two years and caps salary expenses, which some universities, including Kansas University, have said will be difficult to handle.

For KU, the budget cuts will total $13.5 million over two years, or 8.2 percent for the KU Medical Center and 3.8 percent at KU-Lawrence.

Regents urged Gov. Sam Brownback to veto the part of the bill that caps salary appropriations. Brownback's office said he will review the budget bill over the next few days.

Regent vice chairman Fred Logan, of Leawood, said Brownback "needs to send a message to the Legislature that that kind of bad public policy isn't going to be tolerated." It was unclear whether a veto of that provision would actually have any monetary effect or just serve as a policy statement.

On Thursday, KU proposed a 4.4 percent increase in tuition and fees for incoming freshmen and increases ranging from 5.32 percent to 7.64 percent at KU Medical Center.

Even with the increases, programs and services at KUMC will have to be cut because of the ways the legislative budget cuts are structured, said Dr. Doug Girod, executive vice chancellor at KUMC.

"There is no way to close this gap with a tuition increase," Girod said. He said a 2 percent increase was added to the tuition proposal after the budget cuts were approved, but "that doesn't come close to touching our cuts." He said a 12 percent tuition increase would have been needed to offset the budget cuts to KUMC.

Instead, he said, cuts will have to be made in staff and programs at KUMC. "We're at the point where we are trying to figure out what businesses to get out of," he said.

The problem is made even more difficult, he said, because while the Legislature cut KUMC's budget it added a budget provision that says KU can't reduce enrollment or eliminate programs at KUMC campuses in Salina, Wichita, Kansas City or Lawrence. Not only does that tie administrators' hands, but officials also noted that Lawrence is not a KU Medical Center campus.

The Legislature also rejected a proposal from Brownback to provide $35 million in bonding authority and $10 million in funding to jump start construction of a new medical education building at KUMC. KU has said it needs the building to produce more physicians for the state.

Regent Dan Lykins, of Topeka, said the budget actions by legislative leaders seemed vindictive. He added, "It is just mind-boggling that this would come out of a group of legislators that we just assume is doing the best for Kansas, when obviously it is not."

During the session, House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, and House Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said they believed higher ed could be cut even deeper. State Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, was instrumental in removing Brownback's recommendation on funding the medical education building because he said KU had been irresponsible in increasing tuition over the past 10 years.

But Regent Robba Moran, of Hays, praised KU and said she didn't understand legislators who make negative statements about the school. "They are an outstanding university that we should be proud of. If you want to have outstanding universities you have to pay for them," Moran said. She praised KU's business dean Neeli Bendapudi as a pro-business, free-market dean who is generating enthusiasm.

Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt, of Inman, called the Legislature's appropriations bill "the most irresponsible" in her 20 years of state government experience. "I think the governor should just be furious," she said. Brownback had urged the Legislature to reject cuts to higher education.

Downey-Schmidt said the higher education budget approved by the Legislature was full of "hypocritical decision-making" and "short-sighted ideological focus."


blindrabbit 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Just part of Smilin Sam's desire to dumb down Kansas and to impose a Jesus State. As Pink Floyd said: "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, leave those kids alone"


bobberboy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

During the 2014 elections I want to be the first to VETO browncracked !!


bobberboy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

During the 2014 elections I want to be the first to VETO brownback


mikekt 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Don't worry about the legislature and brownie destroying KU and KU Med with their tea party arrogance and theatrical " fool the rubes " politics !

After all, you could send your kids overseas to get an education,..... and, with medical procedures, it might even cost less for them to go there to college for 4 years and they will get a chance to learn a second language, by necessity, for free !

Today China is turning out more engineers of all sorts, than American universities are !

The Chinese are also very picky about which of their students are allowed into their higher educational systems !

We are doomed,..... by the sheer arrogance and back room politics of our political system and the fact that it is easily steered by those who are obsessed with their own $ greed and political agendas of how the world should work, no matter the facts of how the world really does work !

We should all start to learn Chinese because at the rate that we a going in this country we will need to know Chinese as we become second rate world citizens, to their first rate educational system and working brain trust of graduated students .


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Two studies of what? One is a city and the other is an university. Huh?


reality_check79 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Funny... Liberal Lawrence ranked near the bottom in two separate studies and they blame republicans for a school that is now ranked out of the top 100 and has been falling for a decade. Meanwhile other cities and schools have seen an increase in tuition and have been climbing in the national rankings. Coincidence???


JayhawkFan1985 10 months, 2 weeks ago

We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. All in all, it's just another break in the wall..

Pink Floyd


JayhawkFan1985 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think they fund education in the Middle East either. That explains the extremism, the hatred of women, the intolerance of others, the undermining of democratic institutions, the xenophobia, etc. Maybe kansas is Mideast rather than Midwest...brownbackistan.


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

B.S. Tuition increases hurts enrollment. You can't tell me that there would have been nearly the amount of increases if funding wasn't cut.


anticommunist 10 months, 2 weeks ago

KU plans on totally revamping Jayhawk Boulevard. Why? It's perfectly fine now. This is one of many stupid reasons why we're seeing ludicrous tuition levels.


anticommunist 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Cuts or no, tuition will continue to rise. Look at the last fifteen years and how tuition rates have jacked up to outright criminal amounts. Perhaps this is good: as tuition soars to impossible rates, people will question the practicality of their Anthropology or Gender Studies degrees.


Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Seems like KU has been doing a fine job on its own going down the toilet over the last five years with enrollment decline while MU, KSU, WSU and Washburn are on the rise.


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Quit sugarcoating it. You want KU closed.


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

State Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, was instrumental in removing Brownback's recommendation on funding the medical education building because he said KU had been irresponsible in increasing tuition over the past 10 years.

Now that is frick'en hilarious. Hello Arpke, anyone home? They raised tuition because you won't adequately fund anything or make cuts that can't be withstood!


Tradways 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Rep Marc Rhoades is an online professor for Phoenix University. That shows what his standard for education should be. He hates all state employees and wishes they would all disappear.


koman 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The number of people graduating with a four year degree has remained relatively stable the past 50 years, around 25% of high school graduates. The number that has risen is the number of individuals that begin college, around 50% of high school graduates. The bloat in higher education has been on the back of the half of students who, in all reality, shouldn't be there and the goverment that subsidizes their time in college. It's time to invest in high tech vocational training and seriously right-size the ineffecient university system in this country.


consumer1 10 months, 2 weeks ago

To many on this forum, trying to hold the out of control spending by the school system is evil.


Notabonehead 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And why wouldn't the republican legislature cut back on higher education funding? They are far more likely to be reelected if the average Kansan is less educated and dumber. I am shocked they voted for any education funding. Koch boys need serfs!


yourworstnightmare 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Governor Brownback has a chance to fight for his stated goal of not cutting higher education in Kansas. He has a chance to veto this bill.

I doubt he will. We shall see.


LogicMan 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What are the rank-and-file saying at KSU, WSU, etc. about this? How does it affect them?


Jeff Kilgore 10 months, 2 weeks ago

No, Kansans are to blame. Brownback and his cronies know that Kansans are very poorly educated on the issues that matter, and so there is no reason to be progressive. As long as they can get men to think they're doing the "right thing" by voting conservative, then that's what they'll do. I wonder how many generations it will take to understand this.


HutchSaltHawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone surprised? I have been following the Legislature and their animosity towards KU for the past 20 years. 10 years ago I thought the Legistlature had cut all the fat and were cutting into the bone. It is a shame what the Legislature has done with KU as well as some of the other programs at the State, such as the Department of Corrections. TIme for a change in Topeka!


bad_dog 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Interesting take from Robba Moran, aka Mrs. Senator Jerry Moran.


irtnog2001 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Have the regents ever said no to anything KU wants? Just asking.


TecmoSuperBowlChristianOkoye 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Wait, the "free market" conservatives are instituting a salary cap? Sounds like a great way to ensure the best professors leave the university as soon as they can. Of course that's probably a bonus feature in their minds...


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Why don't we just close all of the universities and put people to work in call centers at $8 per hour, which is exactly what the Republicans want.


toe 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The Regents are pretty much irrelevant these days. University growth is on the back of the taxpayer. I think they can grow smaller and more efficient. Let's find out.


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