Gov. Brownback challenges Kansas universities to offer four-year degree for under $15,000

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OLATHE, Kan. -- As the costs of college continue to rise, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is issuing a challenge to universities to offer a four year degree for under $15,000.

Governor Brownback recently cut funding to the state’s university system, causing colleges to raise tuition and fees to cover their losses and balance their budgets.

Here’s a look at what it costs to attend some of the state’s schools:

A four-year degree at KU, just tuition and fees, will cost you close to $42,000.
K-State, it costs $37,000.
Wichita State, $29,000.
Fort Hays State is the cheapest college in Kansas, and a four-year degree there will cost you close to $20,000.

"I think it would be fantastic for students to have a lost cost option to show that they have the skills that would make them viable candidate in the workplace without coming out of college with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt," WSU freshman Braydon Hosman said.

Governor Brownback is challenging these universities to offer four years of tuition and fees for $15,000 or less, and he’s offering an incentive.

Whichever state school gets there first will win 50-scholarships to offer students.

Some are concerned that if universities lower their costs to lower tuition, it will lower the quality of the education, but those facing tens of thousands of dollars in student debts like the idea.

With Kansas facing hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to balance the budget, it doesn’t appear likely state schools will get more money from the state.
So they will most likely be on their own trying to lower tuition to $15,000 over four years while still covering the costs of teacher salaries and other expenses.

"I think that's hard to attain," Senator Susan Wagle said. "And it would be a great goal if we could come up with that."

"If you really look at the cost of the education and funding it for the teachers' salaries, the professors, the programs that they have I don't see that as being realistic," representative Diana Derks said.