May 20, 2016
A statement from Kansas Board of Regents student leaders: Higher education budget cuts
On May 18, Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a budget bill that cuts $30.6 million from the 32 public institutions of higher education in the state of Kansas.
These budget cuts will have a significant impact on Kansas students and our universities, both in the quality of our education and tuition costs. These cuts will place an even greater burden on students by potentially increasing the cost of tuition and hindering our universities' abilities to grow and positively add value to the Kansas economy. Furthermore, by declining to veto a proviso that made these cuts be proportional to each institution's All Funds Budget, the Governor has placed an even heavier strain on our large research institutions.
This disappointing news comes on the same day that the Students' Advisory Committee, comprised of Student Body Presidents of the six Kansas Board of Regents universities and Washburn University, met in Topeka to discuss Fiscal Year 2017 tuition proposals and other issues affecting students. These proposals, which were developed with input from the students at each respective university, were heard by the Regents for the first time today. Our proposals reflect a vision for serving higher education students so that we may remain competitive in retaining and attracting new students to Kansas.
We are disappointed in the lack of support for higher education funding. However, as always, we are respectful of the difficult job that is legislating. We thank and appreciate our fellow Kansans in the legislature and other public servants for the work they do. However, there is clear disagreement between legislators and leaders of higher education in Kansas with regards to what is considered sufficient funding levels.
When higher education funding is cut, students suffer. We must fund higher education in a way that allows our institutions to continue to function, grow, and contribute to the state of Kansas. We must be able to maintain our commitment to accessible and affordable education. Higher education is the primary vehicle of economic development and is an incubator of innovative opportunities for our state. The ability to build our universities with sufficient funds is critical in the current and future retention of our best and brightest students.
Stephonn Alcorn, SAC Chair, Student Body President, University of Kansas
Emily Brandt, SAC ViceChair, Student Body President, Fort Hays State University
Jessica Van Ranken, Student Body President, Kansas State University
Joseph Shephard, Student Body President, Wichita State University
Malcom Mikkelsen, Student Body President, Washburn University
Elijah Williams, Student Body President, Emporia State University
Hank Cloninger, Student Body President, Pittsburg State University