During the fiscal crisis and school finance crisis, Kansas’ higher education system had to wait its turn for greater legislative attention and funding. But in the meantime, as we observed in an editorial, tuition hikes have pushed more and more burden onto students and their families, and the problem of deferred maintenance projects on campuses is up to more than $600 million. A new Kansas Board of Regents study also showed that the state’s portion of tax dollars supporting higher education has declined from 49 percent in 1985 to 29 percent last year, as the portion of funding that universities get from tuition has risen from 15 percent to 23 percent.
Some lawmakers will oppose more money for higher ed — perhaps by arguing, as Rep. Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, has, that the universities have sought more independence and that employers now care less about degrees than specialized training. But as we argued, “most Kansans will see it as the state’s responsibility to give higher education the resources necessary to keep buildings in good condition and attract top professors and students.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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