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Regents schools seek fee increases

5/18/2014

By RICK PLUMLEE

McClatchy-Tribune

WICHITA -- Kansas' six state universities are seeking tuition and fee increases for fall, including a 4.9-percent increase for Wichita State.

That's considerably lower than the 8.1-percent increase granted last year by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Emporia State had the highest request at 5.6 percent, followed by Pittsburg State's 5.5, Kansas State's 5.2, WSU's 4.9, University of Kansas' 4.3 and Fort Hays State's 2.5.

An original filing by WSU had put its increase request at 7.5 percent, but that was lowered later Thursday after school officials realized there had been a miscalculation, spokesman Joe Kleinasser said.

The percentages are for in-state undergraduate students taking 15 credit hours. Rate requests are different for other classifications of students.

The universities presented their requests this week in Topeka to the regents, who will make a decision during their monthly meeting June 18 to 19.

"The writing is on the wall that there will be some modifications" to what has been requested, said regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson, based on discussions at meetings this week.

Annual increases since 2007 generally have ranged from 4 to 7 percent, according to information on the regents' website. KU and K-State had double-digit increases of 13.7 and 12.8 percent in 2007, respectively.

WSU's increase would put its tuition and fees at $3,633 per semester, reflecting a $123.75 jump in tuition and a $46 increase in fees. The tuition would go up 4.4 percent and the fees 7.1 percent.

The estimated revenue from the proposed tuition increase for all students is expected to give WSU an additional $2.85 million, according to the request filed with the regents.

WSU said it would use the additional tuition funds to give a 3-percent merit increase to faculty and staff.

The request for a fee increase is for additional operating costs created by expanded hours and activities at the Rhatigan Student Center and Heskett Center. The expansion is anticipated because Shocker Hall, a new on-campus dormitory, is expected to open this fall, WSU said in its filing.

KU's request of a 4.3-percent increase would be its lowest during at least the last eight years and one-tenth of a percent lower than its approved increase from last year. Its compact rate request is 3.4 percent; the compact rate for incoming freshmen is set for four years.

Kansas State's request for a 5.2-percent increase is down from last year's approved increase of 6.7 percent.