TOPEKA — Normally by now, the Kansas Board of Regents would have in hand all the state universities’ proposed tuition rates for the coming school year.
Not this year.
The state Legislature has not passed an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 — which corresponds to academic year 2017-18 — leaving universities without key information needed to set their tuition rates.
“We would have hoped to have an appropriation bill enacted into law,” said Elaine Frisbee, Regents vice president of finance and administration. “At this point we don’t have the benefit of knowing what the Legislature is going to appropriate for state universities.”
The board met Wednesday in Topeka. Typically, the body has a first-reading of tuition and fee proposals at its May meeting, then approves them in June.
In 2016, universities did present tuition proposals to the board in May but had to go back to the drawing board. Proposals were prepared before Gov. Sam Brownback signed a state budget featuring allotment cuts to higher education that were millions more than expected, and most universities returned with tuition rates that were higher than initially proposed.
The University of Kansas’ standard tuition rate for 2016-17 was $4,789 per semester, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.
On Wednesday the board did discuss universities’ proposed fees but did not take action.
For its Lawrence campus, KU is proposing required campus fees of $457.75 per student, per semester for 2017-18. That would be an increase of $2.75 per semester over 2016-17, when fees were $455 per semester. Fee proposals to the Board of Regents also include fees for specific academic programs.
According to the board, once the Legislature passes an appropriation bill for universities, a full tuition and fee proposal will be submitted to the board. The board is tentatively scheduled to take final action on tuition and fees at its June meeting.