Public universities were among the biggest losers in the state’s new budget – despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s pledge to protect their funding. The university system will be cut $23.3 million next fiscal year and an additional $32.8 million in fiscal 2015. According to the Kansas Board of Regents, that translates into operational budget cuts over the next two years of $3.1 million at Wichita State University, $5.3 million at the University of Kansas and another $8.3 million at its medical school, and $6.9 million at Kansas State University and its veterinary school and another $4.8 million at K-State’s research and extension services. And these totals don’t include cuts in capital-improvement funding. A KU official said the funding cuts mean the KU Medical Center will lose at least 30 slots for nursing students and 15 residency positions and the Lawrence campus will lose 38 faculty positions. “Nationally, this says terrible things about the priority of higher education in Kansas,” said Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU. The funding cuts are also causing the universities to propose large tuition increases, including 8.1 percent at Wichita State University.
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