K-State proposes to recruit more students from Missouri with steep tuition discounts

By: - September 8, 2020 2:09 pm
Former Kansas State University president Jon Wefald died Saturday in Minnesota at age 84. This student residence hall on the K-State campus in Manhattan is named in his honor. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Former Kansas State University president Jon Wefald died Saturday in Minnesota at age 84. This student residence hall on the K-State campus in Manhattan is named in his honor. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Kansas State University plans to ask Thursday for permission to offer residents of Missouri the opportunity to enroll in undergraduate degree programs at the in-state tuition rate typically reserved for people who call Kansas home.

The Kansas Board of Regents has authority to authorize the tuition policy adjustment to address Kansas State’s priority of recruiting more freshmen and transfer students from Missouri. One of the university’s strategic goals is to raise enrollment among out-of-state students to 20% of the undergraduate population by 2025.

“K-State needs to be able to maintain momentum in high potential recruitment markets, including Missouri,” a memorandum outlining the financial incentive says. “As students and families have become more price sensitive, providing an easy to understand reduced tuition rate is critical to continued enrollment growth.”

The Board of Regents is scheduled to consider initiation of the tuition incentive at Kansas State in fall 2021 for Missouri high school graduates who had a 3.25 grade point average and a composite score of 22 on the ACT. Eligible transfer students would need a 3.25 GPA in their college courses.

Under the new program, a Missouri resident would be able to enroll at Kansas State at a base tuition rate of $312 per credit hour. The nonresident cost at Kansas State stands at $841 per credit hour — or more than two times the in-state cost.

Estimates generated by Kansas State anticipate a 15% increase in Missouri applications and a 4.1%, or 39 student, increase in enrollment among Missouri students if the policy is adopted.

In the past three years, Kansas State documented a 12% increase in the number of Missouri students admitted to the university, but those admissions didn’t translate into enrollments. During that time, the number of Missouri students who enrolled at Kansas State fell by 7%.

Meanwhile, the Board of Regents is expected to finalize at meetings this week a higher education budget proposal for consideration by Gov. Laura Kelly and the 2021 Legislature.

Kansas lawmakers adopted a budget for the current fiscal year that totaled $869 million for the state’s public universities and two-year colleges. Due to tax revenue implications of COVID-19, Kelly issued an order withholding $46 million of that amount to meet balanced-budget requirements.

The Board of Regents also plan to consider aligning the annual spring break recess at public colleges and universities. These one-week breaks are scattered throughout March at institutions coordinated by the Board of Regents.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.