By Stephan Bisaha – Kansas News Service
The Kansas Board of Regents approved tuition hikes for four state universities, while the University of Kansas and Kansas State University held their tuition flat.
KU announced its plans not to raise tuition last month, saying the school needs to stay competitive. But it also said it wasn’t right to raise tuition as students and their families deal with lost jobs and income caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
K-State gave similar reasons.
“Students and families are facing a turbulent future,” Jeff Morris, K-State’s vice president of communication, said in an interview last month. “We understand the duress they’re going through.”
But the coronavirus pandemic has also hurt university budgets, from fears of drops in enrollment and lost revenue from services like dining. KU estimates it will have a $120 million shortfall for the 2021 fiscal year.
Wichita State University raised its tuition 2% to help address its budget problems. Emporia State University will have a 2.4% increase, Pittsburg State University 2.5% and Fort Hays State 3.7%.
But that still won’t be enough to cover the shortfalls schools are expecting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Even with this there will be serious belt tightening,” Pittsburg State President Steve Scott told the Kansas Board of Regents. “This is not going to really cover the cost.”
Even with those increases, KU and K-State remain the most expensive universities in the state.
Tuition was held flat for all the state schools last year at the Kansas Board of Regent’s insistence due to the Kansas Legislature providing more funding for higher education.
Stephan Bisaha reports on education and young adult life for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @stevebisaha.
The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.