Regents approve tuition and fee increases for state universities in Kansas

photo by: Mike Yoder

KU students visit and pass between classes outside of Wescoe Hall and across Jayhawk Boulevard from Strong Hall Friday, February 6, 2015.

TOPEKA — The Kansas Board of Regents approved a package of tuition and fee increases for the six state universities, including the University of Kansas, saying they are needed to keep pace with rising costs and declining state support.

For full-time resident undergraduate students attending the KU campus in Lawrence, the combined increase amounts to 3 percent, or $162.45 per semester, bringing the total cost of tuition plus fees to $5,573.95 per semester.

That includes a 2.8 percent increase in tuition, combined with roughly a 5.2 percent increase in required fees.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said during the Regents meeting in May, when the increases were first proposed, that the fee increases were largely driven by requests from student organizations and that those organizations were strongly in support of them.

Other universities in the Regents system will impose tuition and fee increases ranging from 1.2 percent at Kansas State University to 2.8 percent at Pittsburg State University.

For KU, the additional tuition alone is expected to generate an additional $5.9 million in revenue, or about 1.9 percent more than this year. But it comes at a time when the university is also cutting its budget for the Lawrence campus by about $20 million, or 6 percent across the board.

Regent Dennis Mullin, of Manhattan, noted that most universities in Kansas have faced similar challenges in recent years, and he predicted that more will come in the future without additional state support.

“The increases in tuition have not filled the void that we need,” Mullin said during discussion of the increases. “And as I look at the difficult decisions we’ve had to make on our campuses of not only cutting programs and cutting opportunity, but cutting staff to meet the challenges that are before us, we are not seeing the end of this, and we’ve got to do a better job of balancing the income in the state of Kansas.”

According to a Board of Regents report, this year’s increases are, in fact, among the smallest that KU has imposed in the last 10 years.

KU imposed back-to-back tuition increases of 6 percent in 2009 and 2010, followed by a 9.2 percent increase in 2011. Since then, most yearly increases have ranged in the range of 5 percent to 6 percent.

Over that same period, state funding for higher education has steadily declined, Regents officials said.

Despite a $14 million increase in the upcoming year to partially restore some cuts that former Gov. Sam Brownback ordered two years ago, total state funding for higher education will be nearly $73 million less than it was a decade earlier, in the 2008-2009 academic year, just before the onset of the Great Recession.


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