Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kansas Board of Regents to vote on proposed tuition, fee increases

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

Students attending Kansas University, and other state public universities, will find out how much they will have to pay after the Kansas Board of Regents votes Wednesday on tuition and fee proposals.

KU officials are seeking a 4.4 percent increase in tuition and fees at the Lawrence campus, and 7.6 percent at KU Medical Center for Kansas residents.

Nonresident students will see a 4.7 percent increase in Lawrence and a 6 percent increase at KUMC.

Since KU operates a tuition compact, where entering freshmen have the same tuition rate for four years, fully 65 percent of returning KU undergraduates will have no tuition increase.

And KU officials have said the proposed increases would have been lower if legislators hadn't cut higher education in the recently concluded legislative session.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law those cuts to higher education that total $8.2 million to the KU Medical Center over two years and $5.3 million to the Lawrence campus.

"Cuts of this magnitude cannot be offset by tuition increases alone; however, increased tuition has to be part of the solution," KU officials wrote in their tuition proposal to the regents.

Earlier this month, regents members expressed frustration with the Legislature over the cuts.

The proposed tuition increases will generate $7.8 million for the Lawrence campus.

Nearly $2.6 million will go into a merit pool that will provide a 2 percent average pay increase for key faculty and staff, and another $2.6 million will be used to offset some of the budget cuts.

In its tuition request, KU said it has lost key leaders to other schools that are increasing funding.

The tuition increases at the medical center will generate $1.76 million and be used to cover required expenditures such as faculty promotions, utility costs and budget cuts.

KU's proposed tuition increase was the second lowest among the regents universities. The remaining ones are 3 percent at Fort Hays State, 6.5 percent at Emporia State, 6.7 percent at Kansas State, 7.5 percent at Pittsburg State and 8.1 percent at Wichita State.