Kansas Regents hold tuition, fee increases to 3.6 percent

TOPEKA — In-state undergraduates attending Kansas University this fall will pay $5,028 per semester in tuition and required fees, which is $174 — or 3.6 percent — more than last year.

Of the total, $467 is fees.

The increase would have been higher, but KU and the state’s five other Regents universities all were forced by the state Legislature to hold tuition increases to 3.6 percent or less this year, including fees.

The Board of Regents approved universities’ tuition proposals Thursday, after sending several schools back to the drawing board Wednesday evening with an order to retool proposals to keep total increases under the Legislature’s cap.

At the finale of the recent record-long session, the Kansas Legislature ordered tuition increases for fiscal year 2016 capped at inflation plus 2 percent, or a total of 3.6 percent.

Some universities’ initial tuition proposals offset revenue shortfalls by upping fees, boosting the total amount a student would pay to over 3.6 percent more than the previous year.

But the Board of Regents said no to that.

“We not only want to follow the letter of the law but also the intent of the law,” Regent Shane Bangerter said.

KU’s initial proposal, which the Board rejected, priced standard tuition and fees at $5,092 per semester for in-state undergrads, an increase of $238 or 4.9 percent from last year.

A 3.6 percent increase is notably smaller than tuition increases in recent years at KU and most of the other schools.

KU tuition went up 4.9 percent in 2014-15, 5 percent in 2013-14, 5.1 percent in 2012-13, 6.2 percent in 2011-12 and 9.2 percent in 2010-11, according to numbers from the Board of Regents.

KU will continue to provide a “compact” rate to incoming freshmen that locks in their rate for four years, though for the first time this year it will be optional instead of mandatory.

The compact rate is higher initially but is not subject to annual tuition increases, so by those students’ senior year their tuition will most certainly be lower than the standard rate.

Next year, incoming in-state freshmen choosing the compact rate will pay $5,412 per semester, $188 — or 3.6 percent — more than last year.

Among Regents universities, Fort Hays State University will remain the cheapest by far. In-state undergrads at Fort Hays State will pay $2,305 per semester in tuition and fees, a 3.2 percent increase from last year.

KU’s out-of-state undergrads will pay a total of $12,353 per semester next year, or $13,329 for the compact rate.

Regents have bemoaned the Legislature’s efforts to control tuition throughout the recent session, including an earlier suggestion to freeze it altogether.

Bangerter and other Regents have said those decisions should fall to them.

“We … hope that next year they will see fit to allow us as a board to take on this responsibility, which is where I think it most appropriately lies,” Bangerter said.

2015-16 tuition and fees

Cost is per semester for full-time in-state undergraduate students.

• Kansas University Lawrence campus (standard rate) — $5,028 ($174 increase)

• KU Lawrence campus (compact rate) — $5,412 ($188 increase)

• KU Medical Center — $4,951 ($169 increase)

• Kansas State University — $4,674 ($157 increase)

• KSU Salina campus — $4,397 ($139 increase)

• Wichita State University — $3,763 ($130 increase)

• Emporia State University — $3,069 ($106 increase)

• Pittsburg State University — $3,134 ($109 increase)

• Fort Hays State University — $2,305 ($71 increase)

Source: Kansas Board of Regents

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