Tuition to increase 7.4 percent this fall semester

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Students with already threadbare pocketbooks will have another reason to clutch them even tighter. The cost of going to school has just gone up.

Last week the Kansas Board of Regents agreed to increase tuition rates by 7.4 percent at K-State for undergraduate Kansas-residents. All tuition rates for the 2010-2011 school year have gone up at all six Regent universities in the state. The regents also approved a 4.7 percent increase in tuition for out-of state-students attending K-State.

The University of Kansas’ rates when up 8.2 percent (standard) and 6.4 percent (compact). Wichita State University’s tuition was raised 7.7 percent and Emporia State University’s was increased six percent. Pittsburgh State University tuition increased 5.6 percent and Fort Hays State University increased 4.1 percent. These rates are for full-time undergraduate students who are residents.

Student Body President Danny Unruh said the 7.4 percent figure can be misleading as the increase is made up of several figures. Tuition itself is only going up three percent with the rest being made up by privilege fees and the new $10 per credit hour fee.

“There are obviously various committees on campus that are looking at tuition and those recommendations are kind of filtered through from students, from faculty, from staff and those make their way to Bruce Shubert’s office (vice president for administration and finance), and Bruce sits down with President (Kirk) Schulz and other chief decision-makers in the Preisdent’s Cabinent and myself for that final proposal,” Unruh said. The $10 per credit hour fee is calculated in as a percentage to reach the final total for full-time undergraduate resident students.

Unruh said the money from the rest of the increase will go toward the general fund that is used to maintain and operate the university.

Schulz and Unruh presented their tuition proposal at the May Board of Regents meeting.

“Our recommendation is what was passed. The $10 per credit hour fee and that three percent increase in tuition,” Unruh said.

Shubert said the credit hour fee is an additional $10 applied to every credit hour a student takes, regardless of his or her college or major. This $10 is sent directly back into the budget of the college that the class comes out of. For example, when taking a three-credit hour course like POLSC 110 from the college of Arts and Sciences, an additional $30 will be added to the cost. Since the class is from Arts and Sciences, that additional $30 will go back to that college. When students take classes from their own college, their money will be benefiting their college. Unruh said the fee pays for hiring new faculty, supporting graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, buying lab materials and supporting student groups.

“So what we attempted to do with this per credit hour college fee is that will go directly back to the colleges for them to help restore some of the cuts that they have incurred primarily in FY 10. So that we can maintain the core instructional quality,” Shubert said.

The $10 per credit hour fee is new to K-State and is unique among the Kansas Regents schools. Students and committees such as the Long-Term Tuition Strategies Committee proposed ideas of how to make up the budget deficits throughout the school year. The debate concerning the increase has been a long process.

Shubert said part of the increase in costs of attending K-State is the privilege fee which is increasing. This past year, privilege fee was $341.75 and will be increasing to $352 for the 2010-2011 school year.

The Student Governing Association decides privilege fees and submits them to the president for approval.

“We are aware of the impact on students and their families, but we do want to make sure that we maintain the quality of a K-State degree,” Shubert said.

Although the tuition increase is not the most popular idea among the student body, some students see the brighter side to the increase.

“While I’m not crazy about the idea of having to pay $10 extra dollars for each credit hour I do kind of like that it’s going to the specific colleges,” said Janell Friesan, senior in anthropology and philosophy.

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