While the state budget awaiting Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature will cut higher education, Kansas’ neighboring states are spending more on colleges and universities in their state budgets. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that increased funding in Iowa (2.6 percent) and Nebraska (4 percent) will be accompanied by freezes on tuition rates, and that Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri have boosted higher-education funding by $33 million, $30 million and $25 million, respectively. In a statement, Kansas Board of Regents chairman Tim Emert of Independence countered claims that the 2014-15 cuts are “just” 1.5. percent, saying they are $48.7 million or 6.3 percent across two years and include “arbitrary” salary cuts. “At a time when more Kansans are turning to higher education to improve their lives, these cuts will be devastating,” Emert said. Though House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, referred in a letter to The Eagle to years of “level and increased state funding” for colleges, overall state funding dropped from $829.1 million in 2008 to $763.4 million in 2013, or about 8 percent.
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