The Kansas Board of Regents voted unanimously Wednesday to hike tuition at the state's six universities, with students at the University of Kansas seeing the largest percentage increase for the 2018-2019 academic year.
"I don't think anyone on this board is excited about raising tuition," said vice-chairman Dennis Mullin.
He noted that state funding for fiscal year 2019 is $584 million, compared to $657 million in 2009. The significant decline in state support has meant a steady increase in tuition rates, as well as cuts to programs and staff.
"When I look at the alternative to not raising tuition and picking up the void we have in the state funding, I have to say to myself, it is not worth missing the opportunity to educate our younger population to fill that void that we need in the workforce in the state of Kansas," Mullin said.
Board member Daniel Thomas noted efforts by the 2018 Legislature to restore funding, increasing it by about $22 million for the upcoming school year.
"But I think the Legislature needs to know that education is to be held high in this state," he said.
In 2013, students began contributing more to universities' operating costs than the Legislature.
For fiscal year 2019, students at KU's Lawrence campus will see a 2.8 percent tuition increase. Tuition at Pittsburg State University will increase by 2.6 percent. Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Wichita State will raise tuition by 2.5 percent. Kansas State University students will see the lowest increase, with a 1.1 percent hike. Required fees at the universities will also be higher.
Board member Joe Bain called the measure "balanced and reasonable."
The regents also discussed recovery efforts at K-State's Hale Library, which sustained major damage in a fire in May.