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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Unfortunate’: Kansas legislature to cut 800 scholarships

Council+of+Presidents+members+take+notes+during+a+Kansas+Board+of+Regents+meeting+in+the+Rhatigan+Student+Center
Brian Hayes
Council of Presidents members take notes during a Kansas Board of Regents meeting in the Rhatigan Student Center

An approved appropriations bill from the Kansas legislature would allocate $280 million for higher education at the cost of almost 1,000 student scholarships. The decision was announced last week during the Kansas Board of Regents meeting, where board members discussed university appropriations, five-year funding and “mission-critical” buildings.

The appropriations bill, which allocated the $280 million, included a revision to a comprehensive grant program and required a 50/50 split of funding between private and public universities. 

Kelly Oliver, the senior director of strategic initiatives, said that this reallocation will reduce the funding currently going toward public institutions, like Wichita State, by $2.2 million. This amount of funding is equivalent to 800 student scholarships, which will be removed from public Kansas universities. 

Board members described the situation as “unfortunate.”

Funding and mission-critical

As part of an initiative to eliminate “obsolete buildings” and refocus on new construction projects offering new or improved services, KBOR members outlined the expenditure for fiscal year 2026. 

Wichita State University was estimated to have more than $1 million in identified “mission-critical” buildings with replacement values. This number comprises nearly half of the value of all buildings at WSU currently in use, indicating that almost half of all campus buildings are due for replacement, repair or demolition due to their mission-critical status.

 “As enrollments change and as communities change and what the marketplace wants (changes), things move, and priorities change, and hot spots emerge that weren’t forecasted,” Jon Rolph, a KBOR chairman, said. “We’re gonna keep looking at this, examining it, trying to figure out the best way to move in, recognizing that facilities and maintenance can be dynamic.”

KBOR outlined its commitment to sustained progress toward realizing an annual re-investment in mission-critical facilities equal to 2% of the current replacement value of each university’s mission-critical portfolio. 

Universities will present these mission-critical portfolios and plans to the board at the next KBOR meeting on May 15 and 16. These presentations are designed to show “how each capital project supports the strategic campus plan and serves the institutional mission.”

“It will truly be the people sitting in this room 20 years from now that will be thanking us for the work that we’re doing now,” Rolph said.

Wichita State was also expected to spend $338 million, the fourth highest value among Kansas universities, in expenditures over the next five years.

FAFSA

The Board also noted that FAFSA completion decreased by 36% amongst Kansas high schools compared to last year. Delays and glitches in the FAFSA process have resulted in decreased FAFSA submissions and increased frustrations among high school and college students across the country. 

Members praised some of the “pretty awesome” initiatives being taken by schools, from the high school level to the four-year university level, across the state to set up FAFSA workshops and support programs.

 

The live streams of past meetings can be viewed on the KBOR YouTube page. 

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About the Contributors
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor in Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.
Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes, Former Photo Editor
Brian is the photo editor at The Sunflower. Hayes is a junior majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism. He is from Wichita. Hayes enjoys art, music, tattoos, craft beer and food. After graduating he plans to move back to Atlanta to pursue a job in photojournalism/dog sitting.

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