Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Higher ed officials poring over budget figures in face of House speaker’s memo on spending

November 11, 2013


— Higher education officials are poring over budget figures to clear up what they think are legislators' misperceptions about their spending.

Republican leaders cut funding to universities during the 2013 session, and armed with a Kansas Policy Institute report, they appear unmoved by requests from schools to restore those funds.

House Speaker Ray Merrick's office has distributed a 12-page memo on various budget issues.

On higher education over the past decade, it says, "In summation: state funding has remained static; enrollment has increased 12 percent; inflation has only increased 25 percent; yet tuition has grown 136.9 percent.

"Over this same 10-year period, General Use administrative costs (Institutional Support) have increased 78 percent, more than three times the rate of inflation."

The numbers come directly from a report by the Wichita-based KPI, which advocates for lower government spending. KPI's data collection is often cited by Republican legislative leaders.

Andy Tompkins, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, said the tuition increases came at a time when Kansas University and Kansas State University were trying to catch up with tuition rates with peer institutions.

In 2009, as state revenues tanked, the higher education budget was cut by 12 percent, or $100 million.

Currently, KU ranks 26th in tuition and fees out of 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities.

And higher education officials say there may be some confusion about the claims of skyrocketing administrative costs.

Tompkins said he plans to get with Dave Trabert, the president of KPI, to go over the figures.

Earlier this month, legislative leaders and members of the House and Senate budget-writing committees concluded tours of the public universities. At the KU visit, Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and Speaker Merrick, R-Stilwell, said it was too early to tell what the legislative position would be on higher education funding.

Last session, the Republican-dominated Legislature cut $34.3 million in state funding over two years to the public universities, making Kansas one of the few states in the country to reduce higher education funding. Regents said the cuts responsible for a portion of the most recent tuition increases.


William Weissbeck 5 months, 1 week ago

Why are we even paying our legislators? They don't appear to do any of their own work. At least in higher ed. it's called plagiarism. The sign of good research is using primary sources.


Steve King 5 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Barbara. It makes sense now. It's an ALEX/Koch lackey just like all the rest of the gang. And who is giving the opposing arguments? Or are they just listening to one voice in Topeka? (Silly of me I know) This is Kansas where the Governor will go after his own party members that show any hint of independent thought; assisting to eliminate them in the primary's just to get the "yes" men he wants. And we have an SOS with his own PAC?

Is this more of that " wasn't meant to be a factual statement..." crowd? Or is it the ..."I am not a witch..." crowd? I mean really, can it get more looney tunes?

I'm a taxpaying Kansas Citizen and I'll go on record that I do not want anyone associated with ALEX or KPI influencing my legislators or sticking their noses in my our business. And I'll prove it with my vote and the votes of the multitudes I will endeavor to educate.

But it seems it's already starting to implode on it's self. Thank goodness Brownback won't be here next year after we vote him out.


Steve King 5 months, 1 week ago

Who's KPI and why are they so omnipotent? Are there not 2-3 other experts think tanks with differing opinions?

Somebody has blinders on.


Ted Morehouse 5 months, 1 week ago

if higher ed got rid of facebook in their offices, they would need less admins...


William Weissbeck 5 months, 1 week ago

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. And then there was Truman's wish for a one-armed economist, so that his opinion wouldn't always be qualified with, "but on the other hand." I am quite skeptical of Conservative "think tank" statistics. If these numbers were completely true, there would be a giant slush fund in KU's bank account, or some admins and professors building McMansions throughout Lawrence. I thought the state more or less ran the books of the university. They should know where it's all gone, and if they can't point to any specific spending sprees, then you have to question their reliance on graphs and statistics.


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