Regents approve tuition hike

By The Mercury

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to increase tuition at Kansas State University by 5 percent.

Though there was an increase for all six state schools – University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, Fort Hays State University and K-State – some regents said the hike was one of the lowest overall in years.

“I had said earlier I thought this was a year for restraint for tuition increases, and I believe that these are restrained and that the universities have done a good job,” Board Chair Fred Logan said. “I think the results show. It’s the lowest overall increase in tuition in 13 years.”

For K-State students, the 5-percent hike in tuition means that for resident undergraduates at the Manhattan campus tuition would increase by $13.10 from $261 to $274.10 per credit hour.

That’s an increase of $196.50 per semester for students taking 15 credit hours.

For non-resident undergraduates, the increase is $34.60 per credit hour, hiking tuition from $692.50 to $727.10.

In-state graduate student would see tuition increase by $17.50 from $350.10 to $367.50. For non-residents, the increase would be $39.50 per credit hour, from $790.10 to $829.60.

Veterinary medicine students will see a 3.5 percent increase in tuition next year because of the already higher tuition rate compared with that of other K-State students.

Tuition for in-state vet med students would go up by $18.10, from $512.40 to $530.50, and for out-of-state students, the increase is $40.90. Tuition for them will go from $1,162.10 to $1,203.

“We appreciate the regents approving our 5 percent tuition increase request,” K-State president Kirk Schulz said after the meeting. “We spent six or seven months working with our faculty and staff and students on what that should be and the majority of the new dollars are going to go to faculty and staff salaries, which is an important thing for us to maintain and recruit outstanding people for K-State.”

The hike will raise about $11.4 million in revenue.

The increases also extend to K-State’s Salina and Olathe campuses and the university’s online education program, called Global Campus.

There will be increased program and privilege fees as well.

The program fees include a new $20 fee for students in the College of Agriculture and a $5 increase from $35 to $40 for students in the College of Architecture.

In the spring of 2013, K-State students at the Manhattan campus passed a resolution in support of a $25 million renovation project to the K-State Student Union.

For students next year, that means privilege fees for the fall and spring semester will go up by $28 from $377.70 to $405.70 for students taking 12 credit hours or more.

Student Body President Reagan Kays said no student likes to see an increase, but he said they were involved throughout the entire process.

“When you get in the room you have to weigh the needs of the university with the wants of the students and the cost of going to school,” Kays said. “I think we did a good collaborative effort between university administration and students to come to the number of 5 percent even though no student likes to see an increase of 1 percent (or) half a percent.”

Regents Vice Chair Kenny Wilk – who will take over Logan’s position next year – said that the decision of whether to vote for the increases was heavily weighed by all of the regents.

“I wish that the public and our various stakeholders realized how much went into tuition,” Wilk said. “There is no regent up here who takes this vote lightly. This is one of the most significant votes that we make all year long, and I think the amount of time, energy and effort that we put into this reflects that,” he said.

“It is a tough vote. It’s a vote that you have to look at today, but you have to look at tomorrow, too.”

The increases are partially formulated based on funding from the Kansas Legislature, which Wilk said he thought was stable, but Regent Tim Emert disagreed.

“I really don’t consider it stable funding when year after year after year after year there is no additional general funding,” he said. 

Emert said he would “hold his nose” while voting for the hike because he knew the universities did their best to keep costs as low as possible, a difficult task, he said.

“It’s very, very difficult, but we continue to keep the burden on parents and students and student debt. I don’t think the Legislature deserves any kudos for ‘stable’ funding.”

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