Archive for Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Editorial: Little choice

June 19, 2013


Everyone is concerned about the growing cost of tuition at state universities in Kansas, but the Kansas Legislature hasn’t left the Kansas Board of Regents a lot of choice this year.

At their meeting today, the regents are expected to vote on tuition and fee proposals for the six state-supported universities. The universities, struggling to deal with a 1.5 percent budget cut for each of the next two years, have adjusted their tuition requests to try to mitigate the damage. Increased tuition alone can’t undo the damage, university leaders say, but it can give the schools a little money to allocate to their most urgent needs.

For once, Kansas University isn’t seeking the largest tuition increase. In fact, four state universities are requesting percentage increases in their tuition and fees larger than KU’s 4.4 percent increase for Kansas students on the Lawrence campus. Topping the list is Wichita State with a proposed increase of 8.1 percent.

KU Medical Center was particularly hard hit, losing about $8.3 million from its budget over the next two years. To make up for some of that loss, KUMC is seeking a 7.6 percent increase in tuition and fees. Even with the additional tuition, the Medical Center plans to cut 20 slots for nursing students, five in its School of Health Professions, four medical residency spots and two M.D. or Ph.D. students.

Proposed tuition increases at the Medical Center will generate $1.76 million that will be used to cover faculty promotions, utility costs and deficits created by the budget cuts. The Lawrence campus is earmarking portions of its projected $7.8 million in additional tuition revenue to provide salary increases to key faculty and staff who might otherwise be lured to better-paying positions at other schools.

One of the great ironies of the Legislature’s decision to cut university budgets is that it came at the same time many other states were choosing to increase their support for state universities. Another irony is the idea that some legislators appeared to be using budget cuts as retribution for university tuition increases in recent years. Leaders in the Kansas House said they were concerned about high tuition but took action that almost guaranteed further increases.

Gov. Sam Brownback said he studied the budget to find a way to help higher education but, in the end, allowed the funding cuts to stand. His budget-signing message outlined his rationale for a number of line-item vetoes in other areas. For higher education, he offered only kind words of support and a vague appeal for legislative leaders to work with higher education leaders to “craft a shared vision of higher education” for the state.

Universities can’t exactly take that to the bank.

In his veto message, Brownback made this glowing statement: “Our Regents system fuels the engine of our economy by providing a highly skilled workforce and nurturing the next generation of Kansas teachers, doctors, business people and others.”

That certainly seems like something the state should be willing to invest in. Brownback, with the support of higher education leaders, needs to employ the influence he should have with his party’s legislative leadership to change their attitudes and actions toward the state’s university system.

Ill-advised state funding cuts won’t lead to lower tuition — or to a higher education system that provides the best benefit for Kansas taxpayers.


Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 11 months ago

The last thing to cut is health care professionals like doctors and nurses. A large percentage of our population, baby boomers like myself, will only increase the need for more medical services. The state cuts, along with medicare cuts, are depriving us of the healthcare we are needing as we age. Obamacare is even worse. It's insidious taxes and cuts, along with death panels, will deny us care when we reach a target age of 74, I have been told. Obamacare is full of unknown taxes on real estate transactions, and I learned today there is a tax on fishing gear which is supposed to be hidden from the public. Cabela's helped us by showing this extra tax as a line item on their receipts. Remember when Pelosi said we must pass this bill so we can know what is in it? Bend over, we are finding out what is in it slowly as each new tax or healthcare cut sees the light of day. Just a part of the "change" you idiots voted for twice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

"and I learned today there is a tax on fishing gear which is supposed to be hidden from the public. Cabela's helped us by showing this extra tax as a line item on their receipts."

Don't believe everything you get in your email box.


avarom 4 years, 11 months ago

Their called Death Panels for a reason....for the So called Ethics Committees, generally wait until your too sick to survive a transplant. If you have enough money, some type of social status and great insurance, you might get lucky. And, those committees check twice to make sure your insurance is current, if you have any that your relatives cord blood and store it, have everyone chip in for the monthly payment for much better off....then waiting on a Black List.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 11 months ago

Let the college students pay for the tax cuts for the rich. that is the way our governor works.

sciencegeek 4 years, 11 months ago

So the anti-public-education Koch brothers buy seats for multiple members of the legislature and now Brownback is shocked, SHOCKED that they aren't voting to support public universities.

Our governor is either naive, stupid or lying. Or all three.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 11 months ago

One thing that might help is if KU would stop remodeling the student union every 20 - 25 years. Since I first came to KU in 1974, it's been totally remodeled twice at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. And there's been a fantastic amount of money spent on buildings, equipment, and staffing for student activities, which do not further education at all. The building and grounds department does a fine job of keeping the campus beautiful. I wonder how much that costs.

I was considering enrolling at KU to take five classes over two semesters to finish my degree, but the student activity fee was so high I couldn't do it. It was MUCH more than tuition for a part time student. Being an older student, I wouldn't be doing any of those student activities anyway. What bothered me was that paying for tuition and books was not a problem at all.

rosierosess 4 years, 11 months ago

"... a fantastic amount of money spent on buildings, equipment, and staffing for student activities, which do not further education at all." So, you want classes held outside? You want science lab students using magnifying glasses instead of microscopes? You want student activities not to be staffed by security personnel (at games, for example)?

None of these things are free. Finish your degree somewhere else or spread it out over a longer period of time so you are a P/T student, paying less in fees, etc.

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