KU plans to hold tuition flat next school year, citing students’ pandemic-related financial struggles

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

The University of Kansas plans to hold its tuition rates flat for the 2020-2021 academic year to help ease students’ financial struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a trio of university leaders announced Wednesday.

Chancellor Douglas Girod, Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer and Dr. Robert Simari, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, said in a campus message that when making the annual decision on whether to raise tuition, the university couldn’t ignore the financial hardships students and their families were facing.

“From our perspective, it is not tenable to ask students to pay more for a KU education when so many of them are managing financial challenges,” the message said.

The decision — which is subject to final approval by the Kansas Board of Regents in mid-June — was reached in part to keep KU competitive as students begin to navigate choices about how to get a college degree amid a pandemic that currently shows little sign of wavering.

“Any increase in our tuition runs the risk of students choosing a more affordable option over KU,” Girod, Bichelmeyer and Simari said.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, KU officials have previously indicated they’re planning for scenarios in the fall semester, including fully open campuses, fully closed campuses, or a hybrid option where classes take place in person for some courses and remotely for others.

“We need to develop new ways to provide students a world-class education and a sense of community, no matter where individual community members may be,” Wednesday’s message said.

The Kansas Board of Regents will meet June 17 and 18 to finalize KU’s tuition rates and campus fees.

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