A resolution urging Gov. Laura Kelly to increase earmarks for higher education funding for the next fiscal year passed through Student Senate’s University Affairs Committee Wednesday night.
The resolution also calls for state representatives to lower the cost of tuition for students attending Kansas Board of Regents institutions, citing dropping enrollment in Kansas institutions, the state’s ranking of 17th in highest student debt and the 59% of KBOR graduates with debt.
The resolution says that despite Kansas’s freeze on in-state tuition and a $28.4 million increase to higher education funding, the state of Kansas is still far behind 2009 restoration levels.
“The point still stands that we have seen a massive erosion in our financial treatment of these institutions at the state level and we would like to see that change,” Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason said.
Student Body President Tiara Floyd said the passage of the resolution is a part of a greater movement. All student body presidents of KBOR schools are sending resolutions from their respective institutions to urge lawmakers to raise the funding for higher education, Floyd said.
“Despite the increase we got last year and the freeze on in state tuition this year, Kansas as a state is very far behind state restoration levels and students are still having to leave the University of Kansas because it’s too expensive,” Floyd said. “I just want to send Laura Kelly a message, in solidarity, as well with other KBOR Student Body Presidents.”
Kelly asked Kansas legislators to consider an additional $11.9 million for state universities to start the Kansas legislative session, Chancellor Douglas Girod said in an email to all University students, faculty and staff.
“We look forward to working with her and legislators to ensure KU has the resources to pursue its mission and maintain affordability for students and families,” Girod said in the email.
The resolution also cites the University’s low ranking of social mobility in a U.S. News and World Report. Last semester, Senate created an ad-hoc committee to find solutions to increase the University’s retention of Pell Grant students.
“There should be an effort to make higher education accessible to those who wish to pursue it,” according to the bill.
The resolution will go through full Senate on Wednesday, Jan. 29.