1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »An update on simplifying K-State's tuition and fee structure

K-State Today

May 4, 2021

An update on simplifying K-State's tuition and fee structure

Submitted by Richard Myers and Charles Taber

Dear K-State faculty and staff,

Last fall, we embarked on a two-phase comprehensive review and redesign of our tuition and fee structure. The first phase is focused on a redesign of our individual campuswide fees as well as university and college fees assessed when a student takes an online class. In November, we charged a task force with developing a proposal for a simplified fee structure to be submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents this spring. In the second phase next year, we will examine our tuition and differential college fees for a possible shift to a differential tuition model. Today we are providing an update on the work to simplify and streamline our fee structure for fall 2021.

Frustration with our complicated tuition and fee structure as a barrier to enrollment has been a theme for several years. Our current tuition and fee structure is complicated and difficult to explain to prospective and current students and their families. Adding to the complication is the historical difference in tuition and fees charged for courses taught in-person vs. online. This difference was brought into sharp focus as the university moved to remote learning during the pandemic, causing student and parent confusion and frustration. The current structure also puts us at somewhat of a competitive disadvantage in nearby recruiting markets.

In developing a proposal, the task force was asked to consider all of these issues with another important addition — balancing affordability and cost of attendance with ensuring adequate amounts of funding are generated to continue the current fee-supported work. 

This week we submitted a tuition and fee proposal to the Kansas Board of Regents, or KBOR, for review in May and approval at their June meeting. Consistent with KBOR guidance, the full proposal will be shared with the university community on May 19 when KBOR posts all Regents university tuition and fee proposals. In the meantime, we want to share a few key goals that are the foundation of the proposal and represent real change for our university. Overall, the new pricing model is designed to provide a simplified student-friendly tuition and fee structure that serves the needs of the students of today and into the future.

So what does that mean? It means fewer individual fees assessed. The use of individual fees has accelerated over the past decade and we are reversing that trend. 

It also means we move away from our historical method of charging by how an individual course is delivered — in-person or online. That model no longer makes sense. As we look to the future, most students expect the flexibility to take all types of courses, depending on where they are on their educational path. Pricing in the new model will be based on the educational experience and degree/program a student is pursuing, not on the individual course delivery modes a student takes in any given semester. 

The new structure charges by the type of program rather than how an individual class is delivered. Significant aspects of the proposed structure include:

  • Charges tuition for students seeking degrees offered through a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online courses based on residency, eliminating the Global campus online course fee.
  • Eliminates the summer/intersession fees and Olathe campus fee.
  • Reduces the campus privilege fee for the Manhattan and Polytechnic campuses.
  • Merges the universitywide academic infrastructure fee into the base tuition rate.
  • Merges online college fees into the existing college fee structure.
  • Creates a separate market-competitive pricing structure for fully online/distance programs.

While these are significant structural changes to how students are charged, the proposal is designed to generate similar revenue streams to fund currently fee-supported work in the university, colleges, and departments -- if adopted as submitted. Overall, the new tuition and fee structure is based on a redistribution of our historical tuition and fee rates. 

The proposed tuition and fee structure is simpler and easier to understand while remaining both market comparable and competitive. Moving to this more student-centered model will allow students and families to have a clearer picture of the true cost of attendance at the university. In addition, billing communication is improved, made simpler with fewer individual fees and a consistent cost of attendance for mixed modality programs and fully online/distance programs. Lastly, the new structure encourages greater choice for students and faculty by charging by type of program/degree rather than how a course is delivered. This allows students to choose the course types that best fit their schedule and desired educational experience, and faculty can choose the best way to deliver a course — in-person/hybrid/online — without an impact to cost to students.

In preparation for approval of the proposal in June, we have formed an implementation team to address the many steps needed to bring this to reality. Our current complicated structure touches many areas across our university and will require a collaborative effort to make the necessary changes to our processes and systems. Members of the systems implementation team include:

  • Karen Goos, vice provost for enrollment management.
  • Ethan Erickson, chief financial officer.
  • Kelley Brundage, registrar, Office of the Registrar.
  • Charlotte Pfaff, associate registrar, Office of the Registrar.
  • Shannon Castleberry, assistant registrar, Office of the Registrar.
  • Fran Willbrant, assistant vice president, Division of Financial Services.
  • Aaron Stroot, information systems analyst, Division of Financial Services.
  • Sara Blankley, associate director, Recruitment and Admissions.
  • Robert Gamez, director, Office of Student Financial Assistance.
  • Tanya McGee, associate director, Office of Student Financial Assistance.
  • John Letourneau, enterprise data architect, Division of Information Technology.
  • Mark Grinter, enterprise data architect, Division of Information Technology.
  • Adam Petrea, director of project management, Division of Information Technology.
  • Darci Pottroff, director of information technology, Division of Information Technology.
  • Nick Austin, senior director of data operations, Division of Information Technology.
  • Kathy Burkholder, director of strategy, information systems, and operations, Global Campus.
  • Scott Schlender, academic services coordinator, Graduate School.
  • Chris Urban, assistant director, Institutional Research and Assessment.

A separate group will be developing an internal and external communication plan that will include website redesign, new recruitment and marketing materials, and communicating the changes to existing students as well as our faculty, advisors, and other staff. This will include forums, training, and other opportunities to talk about the proposal and its implementation. We will also be working on a full set of frequently asked questions. You can help us develop that list by sending your questions to kstatesem@k-state.edu.

The work of changing our historical tuition and fee structure is not easy. It has involved the task force, student leaders, and now the implementation and communication teams. It will involve many of you as you advise and talk with students and parents, understand new flows of revenue streams in our accounting systems, and adapt to system changes in KSIS. We are continually reminded and re-energized by the commitment of K-State students, faculty, staff, and administrators as we shape the future K-State, even in the face of the pandemic.

When this work is complete, we will see a streamlined pricing structure that helps our students understand the true cost of attendance, balancing affordability with continuing to provide high-quality degrees and programs. We appreciate your support and patience as we work through much-needed changes to our tuition and fees structure. 


Richard B. Myers

Charles Taber
Provost and Executive Vice President