Kansas and South Carolina governors offer additional state funding in exchange for tuition freeze

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Two other governors have submitted their budget recommendations for the 2022-23 fiscal year, both of which call for a healthy increase in state appropriations for their public colleges and universities. In each case, however, the recurring increases would be linked to institutions agreeing to freeze tuition fees for the coming academic year.

Caroline from the south

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has proposed a number of new investments for higher education in that state. McMaster’s proposals include:

  • $183 million for deferred maintenance of higher education
  • $20 million in one-time lottery revenue to address a nursing shortage in the state. The funds would be used in two ways: $10 million to supplement nursing faculty salaries and $10 million to pay tuition or scholarships for students enrolled in graduate nursing programs. nurses, doctoral programs in nursing practice or doctoral programs. As part of this offer, scholars must agree to take on a faculty role in a state nursing program upon graduation.
  • $60 million in additional financial assistance for South Carolina residents who qualify for federal Pell Grants and are attending a public college, university, or technical college in the state. Students at private, independent, and historically black colleges and universities would receive an additional $20 million for scholarships and tuition assistance.
  • $124 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to expand the State Workforce Futures Scholarship, a program that allows residents to graduate from the industry or an associate degree in “high-demand careers like manufacturing, healthcare, computing, information technology, transportation, logistics, or construction. »

However, the key element of McMaster’s recommended higher education budget is that, for the third year in a row, he proposed that “the General Assembly freeze tuition fees for in-state students.” In exchange, it recommends a $20.1 million increase in appropriations to public institutions, equivalent to the 2.7% increase in the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) last year. .

Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s 2022-23 budget recommendation includes an additional $45.7 million for public universities in the state. This increase, which would restore institutional funding to pre-pandemic levels, would be tied to the requirement that institutions freeze tuition at their approved rates for fiscal year 2022.

Cheryl Harrison-Lee, president of the Kansas Board of Regents, called Kelly’s proposal “a watershed moment for higher education in Kansas.”

Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott said, “In my 13 years as President of Pittsburg State University, we have never had a set of investments so bold in our work.

With record reserves in state coffers, Kelly also recommended millions in new funds for need-based financial aid, special scholarships and community colleges. She also wants to add capital funding for maintenance, new facilities and improved technology at public institutions, describing those dollars as an investment to increase the state’s economic competitiveness.

The action now turns to state legislatures as they begin to hold budget hearings on their governors’ proposals ahead of final votes later this spring. Defenders of higher education in Kansas may have the steepest hill to climb with lawmakers. Kelly, a Democrat, faces a tough battle for re-election in conservative Kansas where she will likely face Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

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