Kansas' six regents universities to request tuition hikes
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The price of a college education in Kansas could soon go up again. After several years with no increase in tuition, all six of Kansas’ regents universities are now asking for a tuition hike.
“Wow,” said Neil Mandimika, a sophomore at Wichita State, when he learned about the school’s requested 5.9% increase.
“Okay... that's... “
Monika Hoffman, a senior at WSU, took a moment to compose her next thought. A looming tuition hike is not what these college students expected to hear about Monday as they crossed campus.
“I was kind of expecting them to hold off on tuition increases because I know a lot of other universities have done that,” Hoffman finally finished her thought. “I'm really just, you know, trying to make it by as every other student is. And that would be a lot of money that I could use towards food, towards, you know, just anything other than schooling.”
The tuition increase would add up to about $600 a year for in-state students like Monika, based on the estimated annual $10,360 tuition on WSU’s website. It would nearly double for out-of-state students like Neil.
“I think it's a bad idea. It's already expensive,” Neil said. “If they increase ours, it's like… Yeah, it's too much for us. Yeah, even by 1%, it's already too much for us.”
Wichita State's request is the second largest among the six regents universities. Fort Hays State is making the biggest request - for a 7% increase. All the other schools, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Emporia State University and Pittsburg State University, are asking for a 5% bump.
While the Board of Regents is waiting to hear explanations from the universities for these requests at its next meeting Wednesday, the board chair says he knows inflation is a problem.
“I think everybody can see the inflationary pressures that are out there,” said Jon Rolph. “So, it's not unreasonable that we would've expected to see proposed increases this year. Energy costs are up. Salary costs are up.”
And he says salaries and utilities make up two of the biggest costs of providing a higher education. But, he adds, affordability remains something the board is thinking about, too.
“You know, it's our goal to help higher education in the state of Kansas remain affordable and we look at every avenue available to us to achieve that,” Rolph said. “That is something we factor in. We recognize and have a lot of focused initiatives at trying to get populations of students in that haven't normally come to higher ed and try and put out the welcome mat for them. And that's why we've asked for an increase and support in need-based aid across the state.”
This is the first requested tuition increase for KU since 2019 and only the second for the other state schools.
After hearing the full proposals Wednesday, the Board of Regents will take the next month to consider its options and your feedback before making a final decision in June.