Opinion Columns & Blogs

Can they still be called ‘state universities’?

The Kansas Board of Regents approved the requested tuition and fee increases at all six state universities on Wednesday. The hikes ranged from 4.9 to 6 percent, as the institutions reacted to a nearly 5 percent reduction in state funding for higher education, or $38 million, from what was originally appropriated for fiscal 2017 (and taking advantage of the accompanying removal of last year’s 3.6 percent tuition cap). Legislators haven’t passed any law mandating as a policy matter that students will cover more of the state universities’ costs than the state will, but that’s been the case since 2012. Ten years ago, state general fund spending accounted for 33 percent of state universities’ total revenue while tuition and fees were 20 percent. Now, the state’s share is 22 percent and the students’ is 28 percent. – Rhonda Holman