All six universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents want to increase tuition and fees next fall.
The proposals range from a 7.5 percent increase for undergraduate Kansans at Wichita State University to 2.5 percent for in-state undergraduates at Fort Hays University.
Based on the proposal presented to regents on Wednesday, tuition and fees would rise 3.4 percent for the new Kansas freshmen at the University of Kansas.
KU officials pointed out that two-thirds of the school’s returning undergraduates, who are part of a KU option that locks in the tuition over four years, will see no tuition increase.
“Our goal is to balance the strong desire to maintain access with the equally strong need to ensure that the education students receive at KU prepares them for successful lives and careers. … We want to make sure those opportunities remain affordable,” KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement after the proposal was presented.
KU officials said later that out of the 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities, of which KU is a member, this year KU’s tuition and fees ranked ninth lowest.
The additional revenues from a tuition boost would be dedicated almost entirely, KU officials said, to retaining and recruiting faculty, graduate students and other employees. It would mean merit increases at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, increasing faculty promotion raises and raising the minimum graduate teaching assistant salary.
KU officials argued that tuition increases are needed because state funding remains below pre-recession levels.
Other proposals call for tuition and fees to go up 5.5 percent for in-state undergraduates at Pittsburg State, 5.6 percent at Emporia State and 5.2 percent at Kansas State.
The Board of Regents is expected to vote on all tuition proposals in June.