April 21, 2015
Word from the Associate Director - Extension and Applied Research
This state legislative session is far from being finished with its work. With respect to the budget for higher education, the current proposal is that K-State will have a flat budget and tuition will be frozen for two years. President Kirk Schulz, in a letter to editors statewide shown below, explains the problems that this proposal creates.
While tuition is not a revenue stream for Research and Extension, we are one system within Kansas State University, and when something hurts the university, it hurts us. When dealing with recent state budget cuts to Research and Extension, Kansas State University central administration has provided funding to back fill those state funding cuts. In freezing tuition, Research and Extension will be forced to reallocate funds which in turn will have direct impact on all parts of the Extension system, including support to our local county/district budgets.
UNIVERSITIES NEED STABLE FUNDING. As the Kansas Legislature returns to wrap up the budget for the next two fiscal years a cloud of uncertainty hangs over our state universities. Despite agreements with the Kansas Board of Regents and the governor’s office to support a flat budget for the next two years, a last-minute tuition freeze was thrown into the mix.
While we are dedicated to keeping tuition as affordable as possible, adopting the tuition freeze at this time would have devastating effects. Since 2001 annual enrollment at Kansas State University has grown by more than 2,300 students. The proposed flat budget for next year represents the same level of base funding we received from the state in 2001.
Adding more students while state support declines is not a path for long-term success. Freezing tuition without any increase in state support will severely limit our ability to maintain the quality academic programs our students deserve.
We have worked hard to support our growth by increasing private donations, attracting research grants and, with our students’ input, increasing tuition. A flat budget and frozen tuition will essentially remove flexibility from our two largest sources of revenue. Under no scenario can this be considered sound financial policy. The net result would effectively be the largest budget cuts in our history.
The Kansas Board of Regents has the constitutional authority to set tuition rates for state universities. The legislature should respect this authority and remove the proposed tuition freeze for state universities. We support the governor’s recommendation for a flat budget for higher education.
Kansas State University is experiencing tremendous positive momentum and we want to continue forward progress. For the benefit of all Kansans, we need stable funding for higher education.
Kansas State University
We need to stand as one for Kansas State University. The Wildcat Way. --Daryl Buchholz