BY JADEN MOUNT
During the two-day meeting June 20 and 21, the Kansas Board of Regents approved tuition increases for all six state universities and Fort Hays’ oil and gas lease.
The proposals for the 2018-19 tuition increases were submitted to the board May 20 and passed June 20. The increases range from 2.8 percent at the University of Kansas Lawrence campus to 1.1 percent at Kansas State University. Fort Hays State University’s tuition will increase by 2.5 percent, while still maintaining the lowest tuition in the state.
Kansas Secretary of State and Republican primary governor candidate Kris Kobach claimed the increases were a result granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants; however, the Associated Press disputed the claim, citing the continuing decline of state funding to universities.
The state Legislature did reinstate some funding to public universities, according to FHSU Vice President of Administration and Finance Mike Barnett.
“The money that you are seeing spent on education is K-12,” Barnett said. “The (Kansas) legislature did give us back $15 million, not Fort Hays but the system in general, that they had cut in 2016. So what you saw — new money to higher education — was actually restoration of money that had disappeared in 2016. (The) total then was $24 million … so they restored about 70 percent, 75 percent …”
The tuition increases, according to KBOR Vice Chairman Dennis Mullin, are the lowest proposed in years.
The board also approved a renewal of FHSU’s lease with local Downing-Nelson Oil Co. The lease would last 10 years “so long as oil, gas or other minerals are produced in paying quantities, on a parcel of land located in Ellis County” with two years prior for exploration.