TOPKEA (CAPITOL BUREAU) — Universities in Kansas are pushing for more money under the Governor’s proposed budget after cuts to higher education weren’t restored.
At a campus filled with more than 22,000 students, Kansas State University is still seeing the effects from the Governor’s four percent budget cuts.
“We’re proud of what we have, it’s kind of a classic college experience right there in Manhattan Kansas,” said KSU President Richard Myers.
In 2016, Governor Brownback cut $24 million in funding to Kansas public universities. The cut resulted in KSU losing about $7 million.
“If the state support goes away, then tuition has to go up,” said Myers. He went on to explained the university raised tuition last year. “We did last year, I think it was just under three percent that we had to raise tuition.”
Aside from raising tuition, Myers added the university has seen a slight decline in enrollment.
“We’ve got sort of a double whamming we’re dealing with, I think we’ll be fine in terms of the enrollment, but it’ll take time for us to climb out of hole we’ve dug,” he said.
While lawmakers restored some of the money cut last year, they didn’t restore it all which why universities leaders were hoping it would be included in the Governor’s budget.
“We’re disappointed, I was certainly disappointed it didn’t get included in the Governor’s budget,” said Pittsburg State University President Steven Scott.
Enrollment at PSU is just under 7,000 students.
“We have fewer positions filled right now then we’ve had in a number of years. We’ve also slowed our spending on equipment, furnishing, those kinds of things,” explained Scott.
Scott added one sliver lining is the private supporters who continue to invest in the university.
“You go by campus you see new buildings, you see really nice things happening, that’s all the result of private money not state money. So on the state side we’re really concerned, we’d hope that investment would continue to grow and at the very least restore the cuts that we’ve endured,” said Scott.
Kansas Board of Regents President Blake Flanders said while he is happy with the Governor’s investment into technical colleges, he’ll continue to work with lawmakers to restore the full cut.