New budget committee seeks alternatives to tuition increases

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At the beginning of this school year, K-State was dealt an
unexpected cut in government funding, leaving President Kirk Schultz and his
advisers to scramble for a plan to supplement that money without sacrificing the
quality and feasibility of education. Because there was no plan in place, an
increase in tuition and fees was one of the only avenues to get that kind of money on
such short notice. To combat this, the university has formed a new budget committee to look for alternatives.

In August, Colorado State University President Tony Frank visited the K-State campus. He met with Schultz, department heads, deans and administrators and discussed the ways that CSU has coped with state budget cuts. The most advantageous of the ideas was the formation of an advisory budget committee made up of representatives from all areas of the K-State community.

“Colorado has been in even worse straights than us in how their legislature works and how they see higher education,” Kelli Cox, the unclassified professional representative on the committee, said. “I think they’ve been under a much tighter budget crunch than we have.”

On Sept. 30, Schultz announced the formation of the University Budget Advisory Committee in his monthly letter to campus. The committee, created and headed by Schultz, was put in place to advise the president on budget planning. Previously, budget decisions were made exclusively by Schultz with the input of his staff and the SGA-run Tuition Strategies Committee.

“In the past, there was very little input from constituents across campus on how to plan the budget for the following year…[This administration] feels it’s important to hear the voice of the faculty, students, staff, and everyone who is involved in the dollars being spent at our university and making good decisions as we look at our strategic plan in vision 2025,” Julia Keen, Faculty Senate president, said.

A 16 member committee consisting of staff, faculty and students may seem excessive, but Eli Schooley, student body president, said the large committee is a positive.

“I think any time you are having to make a tough budget decision, the more people you have who are out in the thick of things being part of that decision is a good thing,” Schooley said.

The committee will meet monthly and keep the campus updated on its discussions and plans. The committee will also be communicating with the Tuition Strategies Committee in order to ensure that nothing gets forgotten or results in a double allocation of funds.

“The mission is that we’re going to have a plan, no matter what,“ Keen, said.

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