Last week, the Kansas Board of Regents gave its blessing to tuition increases for most undergraduates across the state.
While Fort Hays State University was at the high end in terms of percentage (2.9 percent), students still can take a 15-credit semester for less than $2,000. For the 2017-18 school year, Tiger undergrads will pay $1,950. FHSU is the only four-year Regents institution that can boast of such affordability.
In fact, the next least-expensive university costs almost $600 more per semester. Emporia State will charge $2,514 for 15 credit hours next year.
Elsewhere, students pay even more:
• Pittsburg State will be at $2,774;
• Wichita State, $3,272;
• Kansas State University, $4,637;
• University of Kansas, $4,909.
When we look at these comparatives, we can’t help but think about opportunities for Fort Hays State. While faculty and administration are committed firmly to retaining as many incoming freshmen as possible until they graduate, the school is becoming ever more financially attractive to students not necessarily looking for a degree from FHSU.
The gap in out-of-pocket expense between FHSU and all other Regents schools continues to widen. With the ease of transfer credits and the comparability of general studies courses, the typical undergraduate’s parents (or whomever is paying the bill) might be persuaded to have that student spend their first two years in Hays, America. The eventual graduate still could end up with a degree from K-State or KU — and save $10,748 or $11,836 respectively on tuition alone for those two years.
Fort Hays State’s embracing such an opportunity does not mean giving up on the traditional four- or five-year path most Tigers follow. If anything, a greater influx of short-term students could provide the revenue to establish even stronger programs and courses of study for future members of the FHSU Alumni Association. An increased supply of general studies students might allow Fort Hays State to reach its 20,000 enrollment goal sooner rather than later.
As the latest tuition rates approved by the Board of Regents reveal, Fort Hays State University is positioned best to take advantage of affordable prices. Students elsewhere should take note.
Son of the late Thomas Lowry
Editorial by Patrick Lowry