KU will be only Regents university to lower its food and housing rate in 2020-2021

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod addresses the Kansas Board of Regents on Dec. 18.

The University of Kansas will be charging less for its basic food and housing arrangement in the next academic year — and it will be Kansas’ only public university to lower that rate.

At a meeting Wednesday, the Kansas Board of Regents approved all six Kansas public universities’ new food and housing rates for the 2020-2021 academic year. For a double occupancy room and a limited dining option, KU will see a 0.7% decrease in price, from $9,768 this academic year to $9,700 for 2020-2021.

Apart from Wichita State University — which will remain the same in cost — all other public universities will see an increase in rates for a double room and a basic meal plan. Pittsburg State University will see the highest increase at 2.5%, from $7,354 to $7,538.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said he was proud that his university was able to lower the rate.

“It’s a very big part of the expense of college that people don’t think about. It’s almost half of the cost,” he said in an interview with the Journal-World Wednesday. “I’m real proud of what the (KU) team’s been able to do.”

Though KU’s rate will decrease, it will remain the second most expensive in the state. WSU has the highest rate at $11,110.

The savings at KU this year will come from the dining side, not from the housing. The price of a traditional double-style room for 2021 will actually increase by 0.3%, from $6,084 to $6,100. But the basic dining plan, which KU refers to as a “bronze” plan and which is good for an average of 10 meals per week, will decrease by 2.3%, from $3,684 to $3,600. That amounts to a net decrease for students in housing and food costs.

Girod said the lower meal plan price was due to “efficiencies in the system that our food service folks have been continuing to find.”

In discussing the food and housing adjustments, Regent Jon Rolph suggested that the board create a task force to study room and board costs. This proposal was met with agreement from the other Regents.

“I think this ties right in with our goal of increasing access to students,” Regent Shellaine Kiblinger said, adding that housing and food costs can be “just as big of a burden as tuition and fees.”

In other business, the Regents:

• Approved a request for the creation of a School of Professional Studies at the KU Edwards Campus.

• Approved a request for two new degree programs at KU: a master’s degree in business analytics and a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic science.

• Approved KU’s request to grant honorary degrees to journalist Bill Kurtis and artist Roger Shimomura at its May 2020 commencement.

•Approved allocations of the Educational Building Fund. KU will receive $11 million in fiscal year 2021 to be spent on building costs. The medical center will receive $4.6 million.


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