PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University’s tuition will be going up this year, but the university administration is working to keep costs down for students and the school alike.

The Kansas Board of Regents approved a 2.8 percent tuition increase for all students in June.

It will cost an additional $76 per semester for full-time undergraduate students — who will be paying $2,774 compared last fall’s tuition of $2,698.

According to a release, the 2.8 percent increase is the lowest increase since 1999, when tuition went up 2.4 percent. The release said PSU’s tuition rates are still among the lowest in the region and tuition and fees are the lowest in comparison to five other similar universities which are considered peers.

“Our faculty and staff have worked very hard to be diligent with financial resources, while still offering high-quality, transformational experiences for our students,” PSU President Steve Scott said in a release. “I’m proud of the way we’ve worked as a team to make adjustments that help us remain one of the most affordable regional institutions in the nation.”

The rescission bill passed by the Kansas State Legislature for the fiscal year 2017 budget remains stagnant and will not be cutting funding for higher education in 2018 and 2019.
“I’m pleased to say that the state has passed a budget that does not cut funding for our university,” Scott said in a letter to campus on Friday. “While flat funding does not help us recoup past reductions from the state, it does allow us to avoid the immediate pain that would accompany continued cuts.”

Pittsburg State University has a multi-million dollar budget gap which resulted from stagnant state funding and a decline in enrollment.

In the letter to campus, Scott announced the university will cut its budget for the new fiscal year by approximately five percent.

Strategic spending cuts and the elimination of approximately 35 positions will help save the university money.

According to the release, the positions eliminated will come from current vacancies and naturally occurring attrition — retirees and those who have resigned.  

“Like many universities throughout the nation, we’ve experienced a recent decline in enrollment, particularly with our international students,” Scott said in the release. “This trend, and the corresponding drop in revenue, leaves us facing a budget gap of nearly $4 million.

“Fiscal planning, including last year’s implementation of campus-wide spending restrictions, is allowing us to minimize the impact on personnel.”

To increase enrollment, the school has begun new recruitment strategies — such as expanding the “Gorilla Edge” and the Legacy Companion Plan.

Scott said the “Gorilla Edge” has been expanded to Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado — now students from seven states will have the opportunity to attend PSU at 150 percent of in-state tuition.

Along with the pre existing Legacy plan, Scott said the Legacy Companion Plan will allow legacy students to bring a friend with them at the same 150 percent in-state tuition rate.

Scott said he knows a student who is moving all the way from Pennsylvania and having a  companion would make moving hundreds, or thousands of miles away from home a better experience.

“This is a good sign and innovative approach to get student and families to attend and mitigate the cost,” he said.

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.