May 18, 2012 12:00AM
Pittsburg State University submitted a proposal to the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday afternoon to increase tuition for the 2012-13 academic year. The Regents will vote on all of the state universities’ tuition plans at their June meeting.
If the Regents approve the proposal, a PSU undergraduate paying in-state rates will pay $2,193 in tuition this fall. That is an increase of $127 or 6.15 percent. Under PSU’s flat-rate tuition structure, full-time students pay a set rate, regardless of how many additional credit hours they carry.
“Historically, Pittsburg State University has been very conservative in its approach to raising tuition and that’s certainly the case this year,” said President Steve Scott. “The Tuition Committee (composed of students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community) spent months analyzing the university’s needs, the expected support from the state and tuition at other universities in the region and across the U.S. before coming up with a recommendation.”
President Scott said that even with the proposed tuition increase, Pittsburg State will remain one of the most affordable universities in the region. Last year, Pittsburg State had the lowest tuition of its national peers and was fifth from the bottom among the 13 universities in the MIAA.
“The fact that Pittsburg State University offers students accredited academic programs that are highly regarded around the country at a cost that is one of the lowest in the region is a testament to the hard work of our incredibly dedicated faculty and staff,” Scott said.
In his presentation before the Board of Regents, Scott listed areas in which the additional revenue generated by the tuition increase was needed. Including such things as increases in health insurance premiums, utilities, faculty promotions, strategic initiatives, sustainability and recycling, positions and operating expenses, a modest salary increase for unclassified employees, and other items impacted by the legislative process.
President Scott said the university has also taken a wide range of actions to reduce costs and maximize resources. Those include consolidating academic departments, eliminating positions, implementing the KPERS Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program and reducing energy consumption.
The university has also had significant success in its efforts to increase private support and increasing its enrollment through the Gorilla Advantage Program, Scott said. The university launched Pathways to PSU, a strong campaign to increase scholarships, in 2010. Since then, the university has created 44 new scholarships. In 2012, the university awarded $2.8 million in non-athletic scholarships to 2,493 students.
“Pittsburg State University strives not only to provide a great academic experience for students, but also to make it accessible to students from a wide variety of backgrounds,” Scott said. “Private support through scholarships is absolutely critical in our commitment to making a college education an attainable goal.”
The Gorilla Advantage Program is also paying dividends for the university. Over the past seven years, the number of PSU students from Oklahoma, Missouri and now Arkansas has increased 36 percent as a result of the Gorilla Advantage Program. Over the same time period, PSU’s headcount and credit hour production have increased nearly 10 percent.
In addition to setting tuition rates for the coming year, Pittsburg State’s proposal also included a request to expand the Gorilla Advantage in-state tuition plan to Clay and Platt counties in Missouri and to create a separate plan that offers tuition at 150 percent of in-state rates to qualified students in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.