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K-State Today

May 4, 2016

Alumni associations encourage action regarding higher education funding

Submitted by K-State Alumni Association

Note: The K-State and KU alumni associations sent the following joint letter on May 4 from interim President Richard Myers and KU's Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to Wildcats for Higher Education and Jayhawks for Higher Education regarding potential cuts to higher education.

Wildcats for Higher Education and Jayhawks for Higher Education:

Early Monday morning, the Kansas Legislature passed a budget dictating that the Governor must base any potential cut to higher education for the next fiscal year on each university's all-funds operating budget, as opposed to their state general fund allocation.

This formula penalizes Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, whose all-funds budgets are higher because of our large research portfolios. In essence, this formula punishes K-State and KU for conducting research and successfully securing federal research grants that bring new dollars to Kansas. In addition to harming the two universities and the state we serve, this type of funding decision sends a terrible message to the nation that Kansas does not value earning research grant funding and that our state actively penalizes our research universities when they succeed.

Additionally, this formula defunds the two universities that collectively create the most graduates for the Kansas workforce, the most jobs, the most startup companies, and the most economic development in Kansas. It is not a coincidence that while Kansas is experiencing population declines and flat economic growth, the counties most directly served by KSU and KU – Riley, Johnson and Douglas – are growing.

Lastly, this language undermines the authority of the Governor and the Kansas Board of Regents. The Regents and the universities have been unanimous in their desire to protect the block grant system and leave system-wide funding decisions to the Regents and, in the case of allotment cuts, to the Governor. The language approved May 2 inserts the Legislature into higher education funding decisions that should be left to the Regents and the Governor.

The reality is, the language in the budget does not raise any new revenue for the state and serves only to punish Kansas State University and the University of Kansas for being successful research universities. The two universities are united in their strong opposition to the proviso language in the budget. We are asking Wildcat and Jayhawk supporters like you to contact Governor Brownback and ask him to veto the Legislature's harmful proviso that dictates where cuts are to be made to higher education and unfairly places more of the burden on K-State and KU.

Higher education plays a critical role in the Kansas economy, and we need the Governor's support in providing stable and reliable funding for our universities. Please contact his office by email or at 785-368-8500.

Thank you for your continued support of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.

General Richard Myers
Interim President
Kansas State University

Bernadette Gray-Little
University of Kansas

Note: View the Kansas Board of Regents news release on this topic.

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