The Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee met Tuesday evening to discuss several different tuition and fee models and which of those models is the best fit for Kansas State.
Before they discussed the tuition models, Cindy Bontrager, vice president for administration and finance, shared a few updates about where K-State ranks in the cost of tuition and required fees compared to other schools around the country.
She said K-State ranks 86 of 172 in resident tuition and fees this school year and 81 of 170 in non-residential. Compared to the 10 public universities in the Big 12 and the four that have left the conference — Missouri, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Colorado — K-State ranks sixth of 12 in residential and seventh of 12 in non-residential tuition and fees.
When Bontrager finished with the tuition and fees rankings, the committee discussed a few different types of models that K-State and other universities currently use.
The main model they discussed was differential tuition, which, Jessica Van Ranken, student body president and senior in political science, explained.
“When you’re in one college and it has a different tuition amount than another college, it’s just pricing differently on the cost it takes to deliver the education in that college,” Van Ranken said.
She used the example of the College of Engineering compared to the College of Arts and Sciences and the fees in Engineering that make it more expensive.
According to the K-State Admissions webpage, students taking College of Arts and Sciences classes pay an extra $16.70 per-credit-hour fee while College of Engineering classes charge an $84 per-credit-hour fee.
“(Bontrager) and I, our budget director Ethan Erickson and Lynn Carlin have talked a lot recently about how tuition has been charged by the credit hour here at Kansas State previously, how it has changed now to its flat credit hour rate — you take 15 you pay for 15,” April Mason, provost and senior vice president, said. “Previously you paid for 15, and you could take as many as you wanted (up to 18).”
Another topic Mason brought up was the idea of what should be included in the cost of tuition and what should be covered under fees. She said she thinks information technology — things like wireless internet for computers and other electronic devices — should be included in tuition fees, but said there is not enough tuition revenue to make upgrades in the campus IT system.
“If you take an engineering class, it costs more,” Mason said. “You expect as an engineer, probably, that you have to pay more for that. But if you’re taking an English class or a history class, you still expect IT connection, you still expect an adviser, you still expect all these other things. In my opinion it’s hard to say we shouldn’t bring that out of tuition. Why should we say you have to pay a special fee to have that?”
The committee also talked about budget cuts and how they are starting to affect students. Mason mentioned Hale Library’s hours, which were cut from being open 24 hours for five days a week to now closing at midnight because the library could not afford to stay open. Mason said it definitely has had an impact on some students.
“I think we are seeing (the impact on students),” Bontrager said. “It’s getting very difficult for students to pay, and it’s got to have some impact on enrollment.”