The Kansas Board of Regents has requested that state universities rework their proposed tuition increases in light of restored funding from the Kansas Legislature.
During the board’s meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, the regents had their first reads of the tuition proposals. Kansas State University proposed the largest increase, at 3.1 percent for undergraduate and graduate students. Emporia State proposed a 2.5 percent increase, while the University of Kansas proposed an increase of 1 percent for the Lawrence campus and a decrease of 1.7 percent for the Edwards campus in Overland Park. Other universities intend to keep their tuition rates flat.
However, the board asked universities to rework their increases in consideration of the millions of dollars of restored funding from the legislature. Of that funding, $4 million will head to K-State. The funding increase was announced after the Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee approved a conditional tuition increase of 3.7 or 2.1 percent, dependent on the state budget, during its last meeting of the semester on April 30.
“I think they have to look seriously at what they’ve offered and come back and say it’s an absolute necessity or not a necessity,” Regents chairman Dennis Mullin said in an interview with KMUW.
Regent Mark Hutton, who represented the 105th district in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2013 until 2017, said legislators may not be pleased with tuition increases considering the efforts to restore funding.
“I think they’re going to feel a little bit betrayed that we didn’t seize an opportunity with the increased funding to channel that toward stabilizing tuition,” Hutton said, according to KMUW.
Cindy Bontrager, vice president of administration and finance, said the next steps for evaluating the tuition proposal are not clear yet.
“We really haven’t had much time to assess what the Regents have, the input they’ve given to us,” Bontrager said. “So probably over the next couple weeks, we’ll re-evaluate what was proposed and have conversations with legislators. I think that’s one of the other comments, just to share with them our story of why we were requesting the increase that we were.”
The board will meet again on June 19.