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K-State Today

November 11, 2020

Task force formed to review university's tuition and fee structure

Submitted by Richard Myers and Chuck Taber

Dear colleagues, 

Today we are announcing a university initiative to design an optimal tuition and fee pricing structure that will take Kansas State University into the future.

For the past several years, as we have faced enrollment and budget challenges, a recurring theme has been the need for the university to evaluate its tuition and fee structure, consider differential tuition for certain academic programs, and simplify our complicated academic fee structure. In addition to discussions among groups such as the Tuition and Fees Strategy Committee (TFSC), Deans Council, and budget planning groups, recommendations for adjustments to our academic tuition and fees structure were made by the 2017 Tuition and Fee Structure Working Group, in the university Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, and most recently, in the K-State 2025 Academic Innovation Online Growth white paper

The current tuition and fees model at K-State is too complex and difficult for students and their families to understand and navigate. K-State is currently at a competitive disadvantage in nearby recruiting markets on price for cost of attendance (package of tuition and fees). As the university moved to remote learning in response to the pandemic, our current tuition and fees model with its varying charges by instructional modality has resulted in students, parents, faculty and staff across the K-State community questioning the value and fairness of the tuition and fees structure.

It is clear that we can no longer wait to address these issues. The work to design a new tuition and fee pricing structure will take place over the next 12 to 18 months. This work will take place in two phases and we have appointed a task force to address the first phase.

Kevin Gwinner, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Thomas Lane, vice president for student life, have agreed to co-chair the Phase I Tuition and Fees Task Force. Additional task force members are: 

  • Brad Behnke, professor of kinesiology, College of Health and Human Sciences and co-chair, Faculty Senate Committee on Planning (FSCOUP). 
  • Nathan Bothwell, senior in political science and communication studies, speaker of the Student Senate and co-chair, Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee.
  • Pingping Chen, doctoral student in industrial engineering, College of Engineering and president-elect, Graduate Student Council.
  • Ethan Erickson, chief financial officer and director of budget planning.
  • Karen Goos, vice provost of enrollment management.
  • Jerry Johnson, professor and chair of educational leadership, College of Education.
  • Katie Kingery-Page, associate professor and associate dean, College of Architecture, Planning & Design.
  • Maleah Lundeen, director of recruitment, Global Campus.
  • Dan Moser, professor and associate dean for academic programs, College of Agriculture/KSRE. 
  • Matt O'Keefe, professor and dean, Carl R. Ice College of Engineering.
  • Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean, K-State Polytechnic. 
  • Scott Tanona, associate professor and associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences 

Provost office communications and staffing support for the task force will be provided by Craig Bourne, Lynn Carlin and Emily Lehning. We thank all the task force members for their willingness to commit their time in the coming months to take on this very important work. 

This Phase I task force is being charged to document and examine the university student credit hour (SCH)-related fees (campus privilege fee and academic infrastructure fee) and online fees at all levels and then develop recommendations that will:

  • Simplify the current complex fee structure into an easier-to-understand model. 
  • Increase fee transparency and understanding. 
  • Consider competitiveness in the marketplace in terms of total student costs. 
  • Not put us at a competitive disadvantage in student recruitment. 
  • Ensure adequate amounts of funding are generated to continue fee supported functions. 

Evaluation of the revenue impact of task force recommendations will be an important component of the task force work. Please note that the academic tuition and fees structure initiative only addresses fees currently linked to student credit hours. It does not address other fees, such as parking or housing and dining. 

The work will take place between November 2020 and May 2021. We have asked for an initial report in December documenting current fee structures, their governance, and how fees are being used. Initial recommendations regarding proposed structural changes are due to us in early February. This will allow time for discussion with stakeholder groups and the university community prior to final decisions by mid-April. Our goal is to submit any changes to our fee structure to the Kansas Board of Regents in May to be effective in fall 2021. 

Following the completion of the work to adjust our SCH-related academic fee structure, a Phase II project will be developed to evaluate and make recommendations regarding our tuition structure, including differential tuition, and differential college fees during the next academic year.

In the past few years, we have addressed major challenges with university initiatives that better position us for the future. The work of the Phase I Tuition and Fees Task Force is directly tied to two ongoing initiatives — Strategic Enrollment Management and Budget Modernization and is essential in advancing the university. As with all of the major university initiatives, it will take the focused, thoughtful work of our task force and input from our university community and stakeholders to find solutions that are aligned with our mission.

Sincerely,

Richard B. Myers
President 

Chuck Taber
Provost and executive vice president 

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