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KU outlines significant cuts if Legislature cuts higher education funding


Topeka — Kansas University's National Cancer Institute designation would be at significant risk if budget cuts proposed by House Republican leaders were enacted into law, officials said Wednesday.

The leaders of state higher education institutions briefed the Kansas Board of Regents on the proposed cuts and said they stood with Gov. Sam Brownback who is calling for a continuation of the current level of funding for higher education.

The House has proposed a 4 percent cut to higher education, plus a salary cap, while the Senate has recommended a 2 percent cut. The 4 percent cut and salary cap would total more than $20 million at KU, Gray-Little said.

"If we get the level of cuts that have been proposed in the House it will have a negative effect on our ability to provide the kind of workforce that the state needs," KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said.

Kansas State University President Kirk Schultz called the proposed budget cuts "momentum killers."

But House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, has said the argument that such cuts would hurt "has no merit."

Last year, KU's Cancer Center won NCI designation after several years of effort. The designation will open up more research and clinical trials, but officials said renewal of the designation will be difficult to achieve under the proposed cuts. The salary cap would hinder the center's ability to hire and retain top cancer researchers, KU said.

KU released a list of cuts that would have to be enacted if the House budget gained approval. Those include:

— Reducing by 36 the number of medical students KU admits each year. Three-quarters of the reduction would be in Wichita. The School of Medicine-Salina would close.

— Cutting by 50 the number of nursing students admitted and by 30 the available medical resident positions.

— Elimination of 38 faculty positions on the Lawrence campus. KU said the school would become a "farm team" for universities in other states.

— Risk of losing membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Other regents universities presented similar scenarios of losing faculty, shutting down courses, more crowded classes and losing ground to other states.

"Some of the proposed cuts will set us back a decade in funding," said Regents spokeswoman Mary Jane Stankiewicz.

Several board members said they didn't understand why higher education was being targeted for the bulk of proposed cuts.

Regent Robba Moran said states that are investing in higher education are the ones attracting large corporations. "(University) rankings do matter and rankings don't come with inexpensive faculty," she said.

Regent Fred Logan Jr. said neither the House nor Senate budget proposals are pro-growth, but he added he was confident Brownback will be able to get the Legislature to adopt his budget plan.

Brownback plans to tour next week to rally support for his higher education budget. The Legislature returns for the wrap up session on May 8.

In focusing on higher education, Brownback is also pushing for making the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate permanent. Under current law, the sales tax is supposed to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1.

Democrats have been critical of Brownback's sales tax plan. “Kansans should not be fooled," said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka. "The sales tax increase will not protect higher education. The governor is using a smoke-and-mirrors strategy to hide the real reason behind the budget cuts – his irresponsible income tax cuts.”


LJD230 12 months ago

For the grossly uninformed:

there is a difference between a residency program and undergraduate medical education.

The medical school program should never have been started.

ALL basic science courses should be completed in Kansas City. If the two hospitals in Wichita which host KU students were to sign a MAJOR academic affiliation agreement with KU, it would then be possible to have but one administrator in Wichita to oversee the affiliation contract and a physician to coordinate the clerkship experience.

Neither the Wichita campus nor the Salina campus do squat to embellish KU Med's less than sterling academic reputation.


yourworstnightmare 1 year ago

KU must consider its core missions in the face of these cuts.

Cutting expansions to the Wichita medical program and closing the recently-opened Salina medical school are the right cuts to make.

Legislators and voters need to feel the pain of these cuts in the form of cutbacks in their districts and increases in tuition.

Private universities all charge between $20,000 and $40,000 per year for tuition, which is a good, market-based estimate of the cost of operating a university. KU is at what, $12,000?

KU has plenty of room to raise tuition and still be less than the free-market-determined cost of a college education.


LoveAndBasketball 1 year ago

I would encourage everyone who said the cuts are "nothing" to actually read the article, where you'll find that 4% is around 20 million dollars. KU educates and employs thousands and thousands of people, and student tuition is already extremely high. It should not be difficult to understand the fact that operating a huge university costs money, and a lot of it. All of these ignorant comments about what KU should and shouldn't do with its money and personnel are just pitiful. Don't pretend to be an expert in something you know absolutely nothing about.


Mike1949 1 year ago

I'm not happy the sales tax is staying at 6.3%. Kansas is getting ripped off! If that isn't a tax increase, I don't know what one is!


volunteer 1 year ago

If cuts have to be made, I think I would look at the Diversity expenditures. But I am no expert in college finances, for sure.


John McCoy 1 year ago

You begin cutting any level of education, particularly a flagship university, you are cutting your own throat. That AAU membership is a big deal with industry looking to relocate. Create intellect, not stupidity. The celebrated Tea Party is supposed to be all about reasonable allocation, not fostering ignorance. One can, you know, be so conservative as to be self-destructive. Bleeding Kansas.


Machiavelli_mania 1 year ago

KU gets the unreasonable lions' share of that money. Here to hoping that the Regents and the legislature get their act together and continues to cut KU money.


Dave Trabert 1 year ago

Reductions of administrative costs are noticeably absent in the list of proposed cuts. According to KBOR, KU-Med Center spent $18.4 million in FY 2012 on functions that include "executive management, fiscal operations, general administrative services, logistical services and public relations/development." They also spent $17.5 million on Academic Support.

We (Kansas Policy Institute) just completed a 10-year review of spending, tuition and state aid for the six state-funded universities which includes several options reduce the cost of providing a variety of services and using cash reserve build-ups to avoid tuition increases and service cuts.


Dan Eyler 1 year ago

KU's response is comical. It is so predictable they suggest the sky is falling. If KU decides to drop nursing and medical students so be it. Those students can go somewhere else if KU insists. The single biggest threat to middle class and poor not receiving a higher education is the nonstop increase in college budgets. Every employee at KU watches daily as the school brings on more and more administrators, and the ridiculous pay for the chancellor. We continue to hear we have to pay these high salaries to get the best. We can settle for good. But if we don't cut these college budgets and reduce the cost of education the middle class and poor can simply forget going to college. Leaving college students with $40- 50 thousand in debt for a bachelors degree is ridiculous and the whole higher education industrial complex is an obvious nation wide conspiracy to fleece the taxpayer and legislature of billions, and leaving the nation holding the bag on a trillion dollars of student loan debt.


Lawrence Morgan 1 year ago

Contrary to what many people apparently think here, the Salina campus is an excellent idea. It will serve much of the rest of Kansas.

I don't know what irtnog2001 is talking about.

It's very important to expand medical education beyond Wichita and Kansas City/Lawrence!

We do need to give the sack to a number of KU administrators and to the current chancellor, who has done nothing to improve online classes, reduce student loans, and cut out PhDs which are useless. She should not only take a cut in salary, she should quit her job and we should find someone else who knows where education is heading --including free online classes and classes for adults of all ages!!


irtnog2001 1 year ago

Maybe the $18 million to house the Rules could be diverted to real education to make up the loss.


question4u 1 year ago

"I have challenged education leaders to focus their schools on improving student results. It is important that we keep state funding level."

--Sam Brownback

Sorry Sam, you're clearly ignorant. Don't you know that "student cuts seems [sic] reasonable"? You can't argue with logic like that Sam, so don't even try.

Are you totally clueless Sam? Don't you know that "a proposed 4% cut is nothing"? (And since it's nothing, the state won't save anything by cutting it from the budget. It's only "cry babies" in the Legislature who complain about keeping such a nothing amount in the budget.)

Are you on some hallucinogenic drug Sam? Don't you know that "there are private schools that can educate medics and engineers far better than KU"? Those doctors from Stanford, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins are lining up to move to Salina, Colby, and Hays. All those graduates from MIT and Cal Tech are eager to sign on as state engineers in Kansas or work in Wichita so that they can live there. You're downright delusional, Sam, if you don't see that.

Get it together Sam. The posters above are clearly right. After all, they know a lot more about the economy and the impact of universities than you do. They are right to imply that you don't know what you're talking about. Education is dumb, Sam, and you need to understand that.


yourworstnightmare 1 year ago

Some details of the Chancellor's response to the cuts were omitted in this story.

1) Most of the cuts in medical student admission would be from Wichita, which would go back to being 3rd and 4th year education only.

2) The School of Medicine in Salina would be closed.

If legislators from the hinterlands want cuts, then cuts they will have, to programs in their communities.


Mike Edson 1 year ago

KU could stand to have some of their funding cut. They have so many other revenue streams if they would just allocate the funds properly. Imagine if the public school system had access to that kind of money.


withchild 1 year ago

Nothing about cutting back on the administration or all the associate vice provosts or associate deans or other people at KU who do not teach, do no research, bring no dollars nor recognition to KU. The chancellor should take a cut is salary, rather than probably get an automatic pay raise. There is a lot that could be cut at KU before students and faculty positions. But why cut the contributing people at the expense of the suits and blowhards?


lawrenceguy40 1 year ago

It is sickening to read that the liberal elite at ku are bleating over these proposed cuts. They should look at all the folks in the real world and see how they struggle to pay their taxes just so that ku can celebrate their liberal ideals. What does ku do for the State? There are private schools that can educate medics and engineers far better than ku. Every time I have the misfortune to drive across campus, most students do not appear to be native Kansans - we are paying to educate foreigners.

I urge Governor Brownback to accept the 4% cut to higher education in Kansas as proposed in the House budget. bernie g lizzle and the moochers on the hill will complain as they collect their pink slips, but most Kansans will celebrate!


Larry Sturm 1 year ago

Brownback and his legislature don't really care about any kind of education that helps promote business to move to Kansas they just want the rich to go to school.


love2fish_ks 1 year ago

A proposed 4% cut is nothing. It is disgusting that KU officials are such cry babies that they resort to threats. The headline should read "KU Threatens to Make Cuts As Painful As Possible". Cuts to physican and nursing programs yet PHD in Womens Studies, PHD in Anthropology, undergrad in Hospitality and Tourism, and Masters in Environmental Studies is left untouched.


Steve Bunch 1 year ago

All this breast beating about cuts, reduction of students, faculty, and programs sounds like an attempt at coercion. But the legislature doesn't care if these Draconian measures are enacted. In fact, I suspect most legislators would be happy to see it. I wish KU would talk about creating new revenue streams. Sure, some cuts may be required, but I see no sign that KU is exploring ways to generate additional revenue. Again, it seems to be a circle-the-wagons mentality at work.


toe 1 year ago

Student cuts seems reasonable. These are just supporting government jobs anyway. The loss of AAU is the result of long term KU problems and nothing to do with funding. The school has raised plenty of money for sports. Perhaps they should have asked Alumni for money to support education and research. Not as flashy and fun.


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