Kansas colleges and universities struggling to make ends meet

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — Colleges and universities across the U.S. are struggling financially — including those in Kansas.

We’ve even seen school leaders take pay cuts in order to make ends meet.

The coronavirus pandemic led the Kansas higher education system to online learning and with another projected wave of the virus expected in the Fall, it’s unclear when students and staff will be back on campus.

According to Kansas Board of Regents President, Dr. Blake Flanders, a top priority for colleges and universities right now is refunding students their room and board for the remainder of the semester.

He says those payments are being processed now.

Students will not be refunded any tuition money.

But the higher education system is under major financial strain.

Dr. Flanders says the board has asked the Governor for both federal and state help, but given that the state is expecting to lose more than a billion dollars in revenue over the next two years, higher education may actually see spending cuts.

Dr. Flanders says that, right now, colleges and university leaders are planning for anything.

Dr. Blake Flanders, President, Kansas Board of Regents, said, “Things, candidly, may look a little bit different for quite some time and so I know our institutional leaders are planning for several different scenarios, depending on exactly what situation they find.”

Dr. Flanders says that much of the higher education system’s budget are personnel costs, so some have chosen to take a pay cut in order to help.

Bill Self, Les Miles, and Jeff Long from the University of Kansas are all taking pay cuts and others may soon follow.

Dr. Flanders adds that the Board of Regents along with Kansas colleges and universities are looking for ways to save money while continuing to provide quality education to students.

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