TOPEKA, Kan. — In Kansas’s 2023 Fiscal Year Budget, there is room for investing in higher education.
“So the budget is in a completely different position, not just revenues. Revenues are clearly in a very good position right now, but the entirety of the structure of the budget is different, it's more stable,” said Adam Proffitt, budget director for the Kansas Division of the Budget.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced Tuesday that $45.7 million would be used to freeze tuition at state colleges in an effort to relieve pandemic-stressed students.
Proffitt says this proposal comes as the Kansas Board of Regents is concerned over existing rises in tuition.
“There will be proviso language with that $45 million investment that provided such that tuition is frozen, and that was actually a suggestion by KBOR that the state universities are on board with tuition freeze in fiscal 23,” Proffitt said.
However, Proffitt says another $25 million will be added to the $45.7 million, making costs more affordable for families while bringing the total to $70.7 million.
“Additionally there was a $25 million state investment that’ll be matched dollar for dollar with new private money from the Universities for Kansas Access Grant as a need-based grant application, based to help offset the cost of college for Kansas kids,” Proffitt said.
While some universities, like the University of Kansas, have not seen a tuition increase since 2019, data provided by the Kansas Board of Regents, found on page 17, shows that over the last seven years, tuition costs have increased across the state.
Proffitt and Kelly are hopeful affordable tuition can become a reality for students.
“I would hope that they would be able to support this and make its way through," Proffitt said. "It needs to make its way through the legislative process still, and nothing is final until May when the budget bill is signed."