KDP Press

3:54 PM (12 minutes ago)

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Emma O’Brien

emma@kansasdems.org

January 14, 2022

 

 WHERE KELLY LEADS, SCHMIDT FOLLOWS. WILL HE FOLLOW HER ON TUITION INCREASE FREEZE TOO? 

 TCJ: “Legislators have said they are still reviewing the budget and its impacts on higher education, noting the effects could be substantial. But disagreements between the universities and Republican lawmakers could change the dynamic, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic”

Topeka, KS — Governor Laura Kelly announced a sweeping proposal to freeze all increases on tuition for Kansas public universities during her fourth State of the State address on Tuesday. As part of her budget recommendation, Governor Kelly advised this historic investment be made in higher education to help students pursue their educational goals right here in Kansas and help universities maintain enrollment.

Recently, Derek Schmidt followed suit with the Governor calling for an elimination of the state’s high food sales tax, despite refusing to commit to a clean bill without tax loopholes and corporate giveaways. Will Derek Schmidt join the Governor once again in supporting her efforts to freeze tuition increases on Kansas colleges and universities? Hopefully the Attorney General can put politics aside to help make Kansas students’ educational dreams a reality.

Read more from the Topeka Capital-Journal here or key points below: 

Gov. Laura Kelly made headlines Tuesday in her state of the state address when she called for a freeze on tuition for all students at the state’s public universities, part of a concerted push from her administration to invest in higher education.

The tuition freeze comes alongside $47.5 million to offset its impact, bringing the universities back to where they were before funding was decreased in a cost-cutting move at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the package also includes $25 million in need-based aid grants, which would be matched by private investment. It also means more money for community and technical colleges, many of which have seen enrollment growth in the last year.

[…]

Republican legislators have not been hostile to the latest proposal from Kelly. But many have pent up frustration with public universities on a wide variety of issues, including their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, lawmakers are not rejecting the plan out of hand, meaning there is a window for potential compromise.

[…]

Between 2014 and 2020, the percentage of high school students attending one of Kansas’ public universities declined from 55% to 44%. And across the system, there are 7,000 fewer students enrolled in a public university than there were a decade earlier.

[…]

“It is incumbent upon us to look for ways to try to increase the college-going rate,” Harrison-Lee said. “And we realized that student debt is a barrier for certain segments of our population. And tuition increases actually put many families at a point where they are not able to consider a college education or education beyond high school.”

“It is incumbent upon us to look for ways to try to increase the college-going rate,” Harrison-Lee said. “And we realized that student debt is a barrier for certain segments of our population. And tuition increases actually put many families at a point where they are not able to consider a college education or education beyond high school.”

[…]

“The number one need in Kansas for businesses is employees,” Tarwater said. “So anything and everything we can do for workforce development, especially in the tech section, I’m all for.”

[…]

Legislators have said they are still reviewing the budget and its impacts on higher education, noting the effects could be substantial.

But disagreements between the universities and Republican lawmakers could change the dynamic, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tensions between the Board of Regents or their universities and Republican legislators are not new.

[…]

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