Kansas’ neighbors are investing more in higher ed

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.