TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Kansas Board of Regents says it has thanked Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, as well as the Legislature, for their commitment to higher education during the 2022 legislative session.
The Board said the state’s investment will allow higher education to remain affordable for Kansans, strengthen the talent pipeline and increase economic prosperity for the Sunflower State.
“Affordability for families has been one of the top priorities for the Regents,” Chair Cheryl Harrison-Lee said. “We have held tuition flat for three consecutive years at the University of Kansas and kept it flat at the other state universities in two of the past three years. The restoration of funding for state universities will help keep tuition affordable for Kansas students, and the increase of need-based student financial aid funding will increase access and reduce costs for Kansas families. ”
The Board also noted the budget includes funding for salary increases as well as its Capital Renewal Initiative.
“This initiative is a bold step to address deferred maintenance and right-size campus facilities,” Harrison-Lee said. “The budget will jumpstart our efforts by supporting deferred maintenance of mission-critical facilities and helping state universities demolish buildings that are no longer necessary and are costly to repair and maintain.”
According to the Board, the strategic plan recognizes universities and colleges have a unique capability to drive economic growth. It said a prime example of that plan includes the recent announcement of Kansas State University’s new partnership with Scorpion Biological Services.
In Wichita, the Board noted that industry giants NetApp and Deloitte are just two of about 50 businesses that have found a home at Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus which fuels the talent pipeline, diversifies the state’s economy and boosts economic prosperity.
“I am thrilled that the budget recognizes higher education’s role as an economic driver with more than $ 200 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for institutions to leverage economic development grants,” Harrison-Lee continued. “Those resources will help public universities, community colleges and technical colleges, along with our independent college partners, work with businesses to create jobs and generate capital investment in the state.”
Finally, the Board said it is grateful for the support for closing gaps in funding for two-year colleges which includes IT infrastructure enhancements and several financial aid programs to support members of the National Guard and encourage teachers in underserved areas. It said the funding will ensure the system can continue to provide students with the best possible education.
“The Board’s strategic plan, Building a Future, centers the work of public higher education on serving Kansas families, supporting Kansas businesses, and advancing economic prosperity in the state, ”Harrison-Lee concluded. “The budget for Fiscal Year 2023 will help our system accomplish those objectives and benefits Kansans and communities across the state.”
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