Brownback issues challenge to Kansas universities



Gov. Sam Brownback poses for a portrait beside the Kansas flag.

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback issued a challenge to Kansas universities: offer a bachelor’s degree program for $15,000 or less.

The first college or university to offer a bachelor’s degree option for $15,000, Brownback said, will receive 50 scholarships.

“I trust that Kansas colleges and universities are fully capable to rise to this call,” Brownback said. “With success in this field already proven in other states, my budget fully funds 50 student scholarships to the institution that first accomplishes the $15,000 degree.”

Not including student fees or tuition increases, in-state tuition for a Wichita State student pursuing a tradition 124-credit-hour bachelor’s degree costs more than $26,000. For an out-of-state student, the price of tuition rises to more than $62,000.

“Capping the education of many Kansas students is a college degree,” Brownback said. “Yet, while many of our students possess the academic ability to attend college, the financial cost of a bachelor’s degree proves prohibitive.

“Kansans deserve access to an affordable college option,” he said.

Wichita State increased tuition yet again this year to combat state funding woes, which have hampered the university from hiring professors and giving raises to those who are already members of the faculty. All other universities in Kansas have also increased tuition since Brownback took office.