TOPEKA — The University of Kansas is cutting out-of-state tuition prices to bring in talent from across the country and redirect scholarship funds toward need-based aid for in-state Kansas students, Chancellor Douglas Girod said Wednesday.
Girod announced the plan to leaders from other Kansas universities at a council meeting at the Kansas Board of Regents. He said KU officials started re-evaluating the university’s out-of-state tuition models this summer.
KU will start granting “tuition waivers” to high-achieving out-of-state students, foregoing some tuition revenue to bring in more students. The scholarships they have been using to recruit those students will flow to in-state students who qualify based on their financial need.
“Our goal as a research university is to get the best and the brightest from around the country, and so rather than using scholarship dollars for that, we use more tuition waivers to reduce the cost of them coming to KU to attract them,” Girod said. “And then take those scholarship dollars and redirect them in-state for students from Kansas.”
Kansas’ existing out-of-state model prices students’ tuition based on their grades and test scores and uses a mixture of waivers and scholarships to fund the discount, Girod said. The new plan would restructure that process and not need board approval, Girod said.
“We hope that it would drive additional out-of-state high-ability students, and we hope that we can redirect as much as half a million dollars to in-state students in the process,” Girod said.
Girod said KU would like to have the program in place by the coming fall. That presents a time crunch for the school, which needs to provide its students with information on their financial aid packages this winter. Girod said KU needed to sort out the plan by mid-January to put it in place.
Girod said KU already had begun analysis on how much money the university can forego in tuition cuts and continually would review the program.
Board of Regents President and CEO Blake Flanders agreed KU should have analysis on how it could make up the cost of providing tuition cuts, but supported the idea of the program.
“What we need in Kansas is we need to engage more first-generation students who might not have the ability to pay, so we’d be increasing scholarships for first generation students from Kansas,” Flanders said. “We’d also be enhancing our ability to bring in talent from out of state or out-of-state students, and hopefully then when they attend here and enjoy the university here in Kansas, we can have our Kansas employers recruit that talent to their companies and make them more competitive.”
When asked whether KU needed board approval, Flanders said he wanted to see the written proposal. He said members likely would see it again for clarification at their meeting next month.