Wichita State University’s request for no increase to tuition in the 2021-22 academic year has been approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.
This follows a 2% increase last year and no increase in 2019. Holding tuition rates flat for the second time within three years, while state direct funding to the university was also reduced by 1.8%, was a significant challenge. After careful consideration of the overall impact to students, a 3.0% campus-wide budget reduction was implemented on operations funded with tuition and/or state funding, with the goal of maintaining existing tuition rates.
Also approved by the Board of Regents is an increase in all combined mandatory student fees of $13 per credit hour. These fees were not increased last year.
The increase in mandatory student fees is driven predominantly by the elimination of the Online Fee of $97.25 that students paid when enrolled in a class with online course delivery. But as online credit hours have continued to experience significant growth – even prior to the pandemic – both students and parents have voiced a preference for a more consistent and equitable pricing model, regardless of the method of course delivery.
“We decided to remove the online course fee in response to students’ requests for a more equitable fee structure,” says Interim Provost Dr. Shirley Lefever. “We hope this allows students to select courses that are the best fit for their learning needs without worrying about online fees.”
The $13 increase in the campus infrastructure and support fee will support the costs currently funded through the Online Fee that are largely beneficial to all students, as well as provide the infrastructural support for online class offerings. Examples include Blackboard software and 24/7 support, software for video lectures, test proctoring services, Zoom licensing for the entire campus, and support for instructional design.
Some colleges will also implement increases to existing course fees to support instructional costs associated with learning in those disciplines that was previously funded through the Online Fee.
Wichita State’s tuition proposal submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents can be found at www.kansasregents.org.