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Regents OK tuition proposal

June 25, 2009 12:00AM

The Kansas Board of Regents approved a request by Pittsburg State University on Thursday to increase tuition for the fall semester. For undergraduate and graduate resident students, tuition will go up $116. Non-resident undergraduate and graduate students will pay an additional $251 per semester.

“Pittsburg State University works very hard to keep tuition as low as possible,” said John Patterson, PSU vice president for administration and campus life. “Recent major cuts in funding for higher education, however, made a tuition increase necessary in order for the university to avoid a serious negative impact on students and programs. The good news is that even with the tuition increase, Pittsburg State is an excellent educational investment and remains more affordable than almost all of its institutional and regional peers.”

The tuition increase is just one part of a multi-faceted effort to deal with the dual blows of major cuts in state support and expected increases in operational costs.

Earlier this year, when the Kansas Legislature mandated cuts of approximately $3.8 million in the PSU budget, the university was already preparing for higher costs for things like utilities, group health insurance and an increase in the minimum wage for student employees. Together, the cuts from the state and the increased costs totaled more than $4.7 million.

PSU officials made deep cuts across campus, prying approximately $3 million out of operating costs and personnel.

“We sharply reduced travel, didn’t fill a number of open positions and delayed the purchase of equipment,” Patterson said. “Every office is doing its part.”

But cuts alone will not fill the hole left by the combination of budget reductions and increased costs, Patterson said.

“We cut about $3 million through OOE and personnel,” Patterson said. “But the budget reductions and increased costs add up to about $4.7 million.”

Because each 1 percent increase in tuition generates approximately $253,000 and enrollment at PSU is more than 7,000, today’s approval by the Board of Regents allows the university to bridge the $1.7 million gap that still remains.

“These are all difficult things to do,” Patterson said. “Cutting budgets for academic departments, leaving positions unfilled and delaying the purchase of important equipment are serious decisions. Likewise, the university is very reluctant to increase the cost of education for students and their families. But these are unusual and difficult times for everyone in Kansas and across the U.S. Our efforts at Pittsburg State are designed to protect the quality of education while at the same time preserving access to higher education for our citizens.”

©2009 Pittsburg State University