2017 Legislative Priorities for Kansas State University

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
January 03, 2016

With the start of the new year, officials at Kansas State University are gearing up for the start of the 2017 Legislative session.

K-State President Richard Myers says the university wants the legislature to better understand the return it gets on its investment in Kansas State University.

“And there’s several ways to look at that, and some are easier than others to kind of quantify…get the data for,” said Myers. “But we’re working very hard to tell people, ok, for every dollar you put in, this is what the state reaps in benefits. And I think the numbers will be really, really supportive of more dollars into higher education.”

According to Myers, K-State will be asking legislators to approve a tuition increase for the fall and to begin a conversation about improving infrastructure for the College of Agriculture.

“They produce the majority of research that’s done at this university and their facilities are…some of ‘em are not very good,” Myers said. “And if you want to do high-class, productive research, you need good facilities. So, we’ll start to have those conversations.”

The state is already experiencing a significant budget shortfall. Myers thinks it would be a huge problem if Kansas State faces another cut in February.

“I think there’s growing consensus that it cannot be, we just take whatever the amount is and then we spread that over all the units and everybody kind of takes a proportional hit,” Myers said.  “We may have to look at doing something more strategic and programmatic, but we haven’t made those decisions yet.”

Being strategic and programmatic would involve taking a closer look at programs that don’t generate a lot of tuition revenue and then determining whether K-State wants to continue those programs.

“That would be pretty radical. So we have to look at balancing this and making sure that we’re putting these revenue dollars to programs that the rest of the campus isn’t subsidizing is the way it basically works out.”

Moving forward, Myers says the main focus for the legislative session is telling the K-State story.

“How do we tell the story of what Kansas State University does for this state and the region in a way that is convincing and inspiring to our legislators? That’s what has to be done.

“And we’ve got a pretty good story,” Myers continued. “We’re trying to make that story better and more understandable.”

The 125-member House of Representatives and 40-member Senate begin the 2017 Kansas legislative session on January 9th.

Last year, 24 graduates from McPherson High School’s class of 2016 planned to attend K-State.