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Should Kansas University offer locked in tuition rates for freshmen?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 17, 2005

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Photo of Matt Morgus

“Yes, of course. It makes sense because they know what they will be getting into for the next four years.”

Photo of Monica McCuistion

“I guess if I were a freshman, I would like it to be locked in. It’s nice to know so you can plan ahead and see if you can afford school next year.”

Photo of Marvin Reese

“No. It’s not fair to everyone else that goes there. They might have to pick up the slack if they didn’t charge the freshmen enough.”

Photo of Boone Bauer

“Yes, I think that’s a good idea. Being able to budget ahead of time is really important.”


Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

Does any other segment of the population get any four-year economic guarantees? I don't know of any. Why should college students be an exception? The taxpayers (me, you, everybody else) already subsidize their education. Under this scheme, if costs go up, we automatically have to pick up the slack. This suggestion is unrealistic.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

PS I'm first today! nanny nanny boo boo pppbbbbtttt! :P

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

Did anybody else read the article about the racial profiling law? My question they just keep track of who the white cops pull over, or do they also keep track of whether or not non-white cops are targeting white people?

If they did track that, it would be a first.

The article is wrong - standard traffic citations DO include an area for "race" - the one I just got says so.

As far as the locked in tuition rates, I think that it would help with financial planning for the parents (or student - if they are the ones paying), but I think it should also include provisions so that as they get into more specialized classes and instruction the tuition can go up a set percent (i.e, a class taught by a GTA who barely speaks english , and a class taught by a full professor who is an expert in their field.)

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 11 months ago

It would make things a lot easier than having to guess how much your tuition's going to hike up each year. However, some students on the five-year plan may be facing bigtime inflates on their fifth - sixth - seventh year. =)

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

TUITION PLAN: the illinois plan calls for a 5% tuition increase per year. since when has inflation grown at 5% per year? this plan will actually cost the student MORE money if it is based on the illinois plan. the university will demand more money from the legislature, same old, same old - that won't change regardless of what happens with tuition.

PESTICIDE USE IN THE PARK: it will cost $200,000 MORE to go pesticide free? what about west nile virus? what happens when more people come down with it due to lack of pesticide use? sell your crazy somewhere else, lawrence is all stocked up here.

ROUNDABOUT AT 19th & LOUISIANA MEETING: an engineering firm is doing the numbers of putting in a roundabout, but they weren't there to sell the public on putting one in? i wouldn't be surprised the commissioners act deaf before they vote that one in. we all know they want to be remembered as serving during the "progressive era." i can see the 'fancy' cardboard display now, at our local history museum. they'll pass that one during a late night session when everyone is ready to go home - just like all the other controversial votes. it'll be for the good of the people regardless of its $1.3 Million price tag.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 11 months ago

Fanghorn: Your KS tax dollars as a whole subsidize the University of Kansas, a state institutution, by only what 25-30%....which continues to lose funding from the State routinely each year.

I believe my out-of-state tuition dollars subsidize the KS in-state students more so than your tax dollars currently do. Don't complain as a tax payer that you have to pay a few extra dollars annually for rising costs at the University, when my tuition continues to arbitrarily rise on a semseter-to-semester basis by hundreds of dollars to cover tuition and fees (another tax).

I'm an extremist on this situation...but if this state doesn't want to fund it's University, then KU should just privatize and free itself of the restrictions and regulations that the state imposes.

I mean let's be real here...KS doesn't have much going for it to make it any more modern and, well intelligent, than the University of Kansas.

May as well fund it and help all ya'll out.


raven 12 years, 11 months ago

I think the locked in tuition rates are a good idea. It is hard to make ends meet as a college student. As well, everyone has the right to an education, not just those that can afford it. KU is getting more and more expensive. We need to support KU, I think the legislature doesn't give them enough money.

Topside 12 years, 11 months ago

While the rest of us don't have fixed money garantees. I think it is a good idea for a college like KU to implement a fixed tuition. That way you can plan ahead and know exactly just how much you'll be into "the man" for.

penguin 12 years, 11 months ago

Jayhawk226 has it right. By definition KU is not really a state institution, it is a state subsidized institution. As tuition has gone up state aid has not followed...or at least not at the same rate, which makes sense. I was among those who worked against the 5 year plan in 2002 and I was told many times this would not occur. To me it makes perfect economic sense, if a state agency is brining in more dollars from another source. why would you give them more money or even the same money. Im not necessarily saying I like this train of logic, but it makes sense to me given the makeup of the Kansas Legislature.

Yes, the University of Kansas is cheaper than other schools around the country. However, that does not mean that all Kansans can attend the University of Kansas. KU has priced out so many students and they finally got around to pricing me out. When I started at KU, it cost the same per hour roughly as all the other state institutions. Then came tuition ownership...bum....bum..bummmmmm. By and large a smart move by the Legislature for being able to skirt funding issues later on. Tuition ownership allowed all the state schools to set their own rates and well KU said 20% a year sounds good for 5 years. Now anytime Hemenway or his cronies go to Topeka, Legislators have a built in excuse "If you want more money than just raise tuition". Ah but what of that tuition debate so many years ago. The Rumback article was a bit misleading. There were at least 4 protests that I can think of (2 on campus, 1 on the steps of the Capitol Building in Topeka, and 1 at the Board of Regents...on Valentine's Day). Im fuzzy on the on campus tallies, but I know more than 40 people were there, because after a while it was moved to the Provost's Office. Also the one on the Capitol steps was an all Kansas rally, but KU students made up most of the people there. I think the locked in tuition is not a bad idea, because at least you know going into KU the approximate figure of how you are going to get hosed. Also it would be nice to know ahead of time whether sending junior to KU will be affordable in both the present and get a good idea if it is feasible down the road.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

Raven: On what do you base your belief that "everyone has the right to an education"? (I'm assuming you mean post-secondary education, btw, since that's what being discussed here. If that assumption's wrong, please forgive me.)

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

Yes, KU should have a fixed rate but not just for freshmen. No reason they couldn't. KU should also have to face reality and control their costs like everyone else has to. All they have done as long as I can remember is raise tuition to the sky and then justify the increase by comparing to other colleges that cost more. They really need to learn to control costs and keep up the buildings that they have, not just keep expanding while existing buildings fail. KU needs to be a college that all people would want to go to, not just the people with the highest grades or the most money. KU used to have to admit all Kansas students and they should since Kansas residents foot part of the bill every year. KU should admit all Kansas students that want to attend.

raven 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn: In this particular case I was speaking of higher education but for that matter I believe that for grade school and high school too. Your question blows my mind, can you give me an instance where someone does not have the right to an education (higher ed or otherwise?)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

I see that even the usual protesters about "stupid questions" are ignoring my call for discussion about the racial profiling law...interesting...

No, you're right. Let's continue talking about migraines and fixed tuition rates...

craigers 12 years, 11 months ago

I would say that a fixed tuition rate would be a great idea. However, I think it should only remain fixed for four years. There are too many career students that could take advantage of having a set tuition. Maybe we could set the limit at five instead of four since it seems that it takes a lot of people a little over four years to get their degree. I don't think that people that go to KU for 7 years and get three degrees should have a fixed tuition for all 7 years. This would provide people with an incentive to get their education done with and not drag it on. Fixed tuition is a good idea with some time constraints.

craigers 12 years, 11 months ago

Hong Kong, my first inclination about this new regulation to keep records on race is ridiculous. Are they going to try and regulate how many tickets the cops can hand out to all the different races to make sure it is equal? I don't agree with racial profiling and I am also not saying that some police officers don't do it, but keeping track of who the citations are written to by race isn't going to change anything. I also do agree with you Hong Kong that the only fair way to do this tracking is to make sure that each different race is not profiling against other drivers of different races. If that doesn't make sense then all I was trying to say was make sure whites aren't profiling blacks, blacks aren't profiling whites, and so on. Very interesting regulation, but it seems like a big waste of time to me.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

Raven: Rights usually have a source or basis. Governments cannot grant rights, they can only recognize rights that already exist. Any "right" a government grants can be taken away by that government, so it's really not a right per se. Our rights as US citizens are spelled out in the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments. My question then is what is the source of a "right" to an education, specifically a post-secondary education in this case?

I believe that a true right one person enjoys rarely obligates any other person or entity to do anything. It may obligate them to refrain from doing something but shouldn't obligate them to a positive course of action. For instance, most amendments are stated in negative terms (i.e. what the government can't do). I: Congress shall make NO law. II: The right to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed. III: NO soldier shall:be quartered. IV: NO warrants shall issue. V: NO person shall be held: VI: This is the exception that does obligate the government to do something: speedy public trial, inform of accusations, defense council, etc. VII: NO fact tried by a jury. VIII: Excessive bail shall NOT be required. You'll also see negative expressions in Amendments IX, XI, XIII, XIV, XV, et al. My point is that the rights I enjoy rarely compel anyone else to do anything for me. If I want an education, it is up to me to secure the means to obtain it. You are not obligated to help me in any way. If I do have a "right" to an education and can't afford it, that obligates others to help. No one may prohibit me from obtaining an education. But if I want an education I can't afford, what is the source of my "right" to that education?

I hope I'm stating the basis for my question clearly. You seemed offended by it earlier, and I don't think the question the way I mean it is offensive.

raven 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn: I was not offended and sorry if it came across that way. Perhaps my statement is better stated this way. Everyone should have an education, or everyone deserves an education. I do not know. When I said "right" I meant it in a moral or ethical sense. Not a definition of the rights granted by our constitution. In my opinion just because our constitution doesn't grant it doesn't mean that people should not be able to attain it. So, we are looking at the question/statement from two different angles. I understand your point. Often times I am in a rush and leave my comments short and to the point. However, I am not easily offended so please don't worry about that.

My point is this, just because one cannot afford higher ed should they not be given the same chances/opportunities as those that can. I ask you this not as what is granted to us by the Government or our constitution but as what you personally feel.

remember_username 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn - I'm in no way knowledgeable regarding the constitution. But I'm curious to ask how the framers of the constitution regarded the declaration of independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". It seems to me that this statement should trump the constitution, or that the constitution is defines some of the things a government should not do (as does the declaration as well). The problem is that the constitution defines much that a government should not do - but the above declaration states what a government should do.

You seem to have a pretty good grasp of this subject and frankly politics always gives me intigestion. Please take some time to comment.

Surhoff 12 years, 11 months ago

It's would be nice, but what if your on the 7 year plan?

enochville 12 years, 11 months ago

Hi, all,

I am an out of state graduate student myself and come from a rather low socio-economic status. I recognized early on that if I wanted to lift my current and future family's situation that I would need to qualify for higher paying employment by getting an education. I knew that my family could not afford to contribute financially to my going to school. I would have to find a way myself. I was fortunate enough to earn a merit based scholarship that paid four years of tuition to a private school. Since tuition is not the only expense, I found part-time employment to pay the rest. For the first couple of years I could not get a Pell Grant because the application asked for my father's income which was around $32,000. From that figure they calculated that I was not eligible for a Pell Grant even though my dad did not contribute anything. The last two years I did qualify for the Pell Grant which helped. Since coming to graduate school here, I no longer qualify for grants and earned no scholarship. I came anyway because I was told that there would be opportunities to earn money and have tuition reductions by being a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions I, along with some of my cohort, no longer have those opportunities. I work part-time and take out loans, trying to keep the loans small enough so that it won't kill me to pay them back.

I guess what I am saying is that I am grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education even though I will have loans to pay back. I support reasonable measures to help lift the large financial burden on people who are trying to improve their financial situation through education. It takes money to make money, but I feel we should help people who are trying to help themselves.

raven 12 years, 11 months ago

Hear, hear enochville. I agree and although was only recently an undergrad understand what you mean about doing whatever it takes to get through school. I too put myself through college, however my scholarships barely made a dent in my tuition. Most academic scholarships do not unfortunately. Again, I said most do not. Good for you!!

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

Raven & Remember_Username: I would say that the part in the Bill of Rights stating "The pursuit of Life, Liberty & Happiness" does NOT mean that the government is going to pave the way in your pursuit. Some people will have to struggle to get a higher education and pave the way themselves. Some will have it paved by their parents. What it says is that you will HAVE THE RIGHT to go after that goal. It doesn't guarantee squat.

There are some thing's in life that I might think all people should be able to have. For example - food. I don't think people should go hungry because they can't afford to buy food. A college education is NOT one of those things that all people should be able to have. If you can get one - more power to you. If not - too bad. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 11 months ago

I was a smart kid but I also grew up dirt poor. Lucky for me because what my scholarships didn't cover, my Pell Grant did. I also worked 40 hours a week while going through college. It didn't kill me and it didn't kill my grades. If you want something enough, you'll find a way. Tuition guarantees...there are NO guarantees in life (OK, death and taxes for those who are thinking it). Like Enoch, I do believe in helping those who are giving it their all and want to bettter themselves.

remember_username 12 years, 11 months ago

H_K_P - It is my belief that learning is a fundamental and unalienable human right (pursuit category) and that society should provide learning opportunities. In my view society is benefited by providing the opportunity and thus the investment is returned. I am using both "right" and "opportunity" hopefully without causing confusion.

But even though society should provide the opportunity not everyone is prepared to take advantage of it. There are quite a few currently who squander the opportunity to excercise their right of learning. I see many every day in classes at the university. If the opportunity to excercise the right of learning were freely offered by society many more would squander it. Thus I have no difficulties with society charging money to reduce the expense of education and thereby assess value to learning. Those students whose purse is lightened by the cost of their education usually perform better than those who obtain the education for free.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

Academic scholarships are available across income ranges. Pell grants are available to lower income students who are willing and able to meet (very managable) grade point averages. Average ability students from upper and upper middle incomes are covered by Mom and Dad. Some students would rather work their way through school that endure family input and strings that so often accompany dollars, and they do quite well.

I said all that to say this :) Higher education is not for everyone. There are excellent technical schools in this state, also various businesses provide managerial training for employees who show potential and willingness to work. It is totally unfair to pressure every high school students to go to college. It puts forth a message that employment other than "professional" positions, is something to loathe and avoid at all costs.

A great deal of America is fueled, served and protected by young men and women who did not go to college. There is life outside of academia. It seems to me that here in Lawrence, we sometimes forget that. People can be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise without a college degree. Their families are no more or no less functional than those of the higher educated.

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

Remember_username, it sounds like you still have all of your Constitutional Rights except; 'where prohibited by law'.

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

The Constitution lists the freedoms that are yours to freely exercise, that have been established and freely given by God or through nature (thus restraining the federal government). Such as the persuit of more training for your job be it college or otherwise. It (The Constitution) does not however make a demand on the federal government to be a money tree to fund education or all the other socialist programs that Congress has created to get elected again. (Like Social Security). (The federal government does not create wealth, they can only take it from you and redistribute it). Social Security can be stopped at any time as can education funding and all of the unconstitutional abc agencies funding as well.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

Raven & r_u (and others): I've perused the posts since my last comment. I will comment further a little later this evening, after my daughter's music program. I think you deserve a thoughtful answer rather than one hastily typed on my way out the door.

btw, I think someone (don't recall who) confused the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" appears in the DI, not the Constitution. More later.

Confrontation 12 years, 11 months ago

I found the story on the girl from Korea. She was a long term Ph.D. student.

remember_username 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn - I believe you're referring to my post at 1:19 where I quoted the DofI and asked about the contrast between the DofI and the Constitution. I find it interesting to compare the two documents and consider the approach of the "declaration of grievances with an existing government" and the "lets make up our own government by committee (which hopefully fixes those grievances)".

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

[note: this response grew unwieldy, so I'm splitting it into two posts. I thank the others in this community for their patience.]

r_u: OK, take of couple of Tums (for the indigestion) and get comfortable in front of your screen. I'll try to be succinct but am doubtful of success.

Raven: I agree that we may be seeing this issue from two different angles. I'm glad to know that you didn't take offense earlier. Purposefully or carelessly giving offense hinders good communication. And good communication is always my goal.

First, juxtapose the purposes of Declaration of Independence (DI) and the US Constitution (USCon). The DI was written to declare the intent of the Colonies to establish their independence from England. ("to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another") This declaration was not merely to England. It was made with "a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind" in order to "let Facts be submitted to a candid World". We desperately needed help to gain independence. The DI was in essence an essay to convince the world (France and Spain, mainly, as England's rivals for power) that England had committed "a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations" in an attempt to establish "absolute Despotism" over the States. What follows is an enumeration of eighteen offenses committed by "the King of Great-Britain" against the States.

In contrast, the USCon was written "in order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". The Preamble lists the broad goals to be pursued. The Articles of the USCon lays out how we will pursue those goals by defining the form our government would take and, most importantly, what powers (authority) that government would have. Articles I-III establish our three branches of government and list the powers that each should have. As I noted earlier, our rights are listed in the Amendments, primarily by defining what the government is not allowed to do.


Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

I expound this contrast for several reasons. First, Raven, to tell you what I "personally feel" (to use your term). While the federal government holds no authority not expressly delegate to it by the USCon, the people enjoy more rights than are listed in this same document (see Amendments IX & X). One could argue that the "right" to an education (in a legal sense) is one not "denied or disparaged" by the Ninth Amendment. If this means the government cannot hinder or prevent me from pursuing an education, I might agree. But I perceive that you use the term "right" in the sense of "entitlement", that the education-seeker is owed something, that they should be "given the same chances/opportunities". [emphasis mine] In this sense, I disagree quite strongly, since what is owed to one person must be paid for by someone else (i.e. the tax-payers, more specifically, me). I agree with r_u that an education is a good thing and that society benefits from a quality, general education of the citizenry. I also think exercise and a healthful diet are good things, but I don't see them as "rights" or believe that the government should mandate or supply them. In my world view, based on the Tenth Amendment, the States have great latitude to create whatever conditions or programs they want. The federal government, on the other hand, has no such authority. James Madison, often called the "Father of the Constitution" (and thus something of a subject matter expert), said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article in the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."


Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

r_u: I apologize for the length of this reply but I thought it important to explain the background so the basis of my views would be clear. I thank you for your perseverance in reading this far. I would like to respond directly to for points in your 1:19 post. First, the "pursuit of happiness" is merely the freedom to seek those outcomes which I believe will maximize my happiness. It isn't an offer to help me reach that goal, but simply a promise not to hinder my seeking. Second, the DI is declarative, but the USCon is directive. It is the USCon that establishes our government and its powers and recognized our rights. So if anything, the USCon "trumps" the DI, not the other way around. Thirdly, I don't see it as a bad thing that "the constitution defines much that a government should not do". I am very Jeffersonian in my belief that "that government is best which governs least". Finally, it is the Articles in the USCon that define the scope of government power, not the broad statement of goals in either the DI or the Preamble to the USCon. "Pursuit of happiness" or "general welfare", taken as directive and defined broadly, could theoretically give the government unlimited power. I conclude with another quote from Madison, "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

[Stopping to consider my words carefully, I dozed off several times while writing the last paragraph. I apologize in advance if drowsiness impedes my coherence or proof-reading.]

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

r_u: Just now reading your 10:34 post, I think your summaries of the two documents are accurate. And considerably more succinct than my comments, Volumes I, II, and III!

Good night, everyone!

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

fangorn - my sister was and I suppose worn out. You may remember my saying that she is moving back to Calif. to be near her one and only wee grandchild. She is moving from a 4 bdrm house to a 2 bdrm. mobile home near San Diego. Therefore, she must downsize and be rid of much "stuff" as I call it. She is one of those who when they see something they like, they buy it. So, she was having a garage sale on May 13 & 14. I went to help her with that and then got roped into helping her pack. I was there from the 10th to 19th. Left Stevensville,just s.of Missoula and drove for 10 grueling hrs to Kelowna, BC. to my elder daughters. Now, fangorn, if you want to visit a beautiful place in Canada, Kelowna is it. Just gorgeous. On Lake Okanagan with low mountains surrounding,the city is growing by leaps and bounds. The newer houses remind me of Santa Fe style. Terra cotta color roof and pale stucco walls. And pricey. Gott im himmel. Ruth has been renting a small 2 bdrm for $1000/mth. for 10 mth. dreadful!! half of her furniture, etc. has been in storage. She has been teaching at Okanagan University College since moving there last Aug. So, now she is buying a house and I was looking with her and giving her some moral support. Difficult decision as the prices are out of sight. We finally found one last Sun and she made an offer. They accepted $324,900. and they will put in air. It is a beautiful house high on the side of the mountain with a bit of lake view, but pretty daunting for her to take this on all alone. She is divorced. She has her young son with her and her other son remained behind as he plays semi-professional hockey in their old home city. So, I left there Mon. am, drove to just n. of Jasper, AB and continued on yesterday in the pouring rain all day. My hubby and Tazzy, the cat were sure glad to have me home again. Very personal post. Hope no one minds.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

ms_canada: It sounds like you had your hands full while you were gone. Where near San Diego? I lived in San Marcos for a short while, and Jonas' mom lives in Carlsbad. My family is driving to Cheyenne, Wyoming, in about a month for my grandmother's birthday. It's about a 9-10 hour drive over some very open country, so I empathize with your drive to Kelowna. I'll have to consult a map for its location. It sounds lovely, but wow! what housing prices. At today's exchange rates, that's still about $248,000US. Sounds like a gorgeous location, though. It's always good to be home. And I'll be glad to have your comments included in the discussion again, as will others I'm sure.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

my sister is moving back to Lakeside. No more driving to see her. I'll have to save my pennies for airfare. Kelowna is slightly west and north of Spokane, Wash. Not far north of the border. But the drive is through mountainous territory which makes for a slow journey. My daughter used to live in Lethbridge, AB which is one hour north of the Montana border where I 15 crosses. I used to drive to her place in 5 1/2 hrs. stay over nite and then it was a 6 1/2 hr. drive to Stevensville. On my way back I would visit Ruth and the boys. Robert, 18 yrs. plays hockey with the major junior Lethbridge Hurricanes. It is very exciting hockey and that comes from the most un sporty person in N. Am. He has one more year to go and then on to the university. The hockey league pays tuition for a learning institute in Canada. Some leagues pay for US uni's. His mother and brother miss him very much. The young men on the teams come from all over. On Rob's team there are two fellows from the Czech Republic. Well gotta go and watch JAG.

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