Governor Brownback issues difficult challenge to state universities

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – During his State of the State address Tuesday night, Governor Brownback issued a challenge to Kansas universities offer a bachelor’s degree program for $15,000 or less.

Many are asking the Kansas Board of Regents, is that possible?

Click image to lookup degree cost.
Click image to lookup degree cost.

“Really the only way to do this is going to be a multi institution system response,” explains Breeze Richardson, Director of Communications, KBOR.

It means that it would most likely have to be a collaborative program, including online learning.

“They’re often referred to as two plus two programs, because you do two years at a community or technical college and then you go on and do the last two years at a state university,” states Richardson.

KSN took a look at tuition at state universities and broke it all down.

The cost of just tuition for a traditional 124 credit hour bachelor’s degree at a Fort Hays State University is $20,000. A traditional bachelor’s at Wichita State, averages about $26,000, and at KU, you’re looking at $40,000, all of that is without fees. Add in anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 in room and board, along with up to $2,000 in books, and the likelihood of a $15,000 education seems like a pipe dream to some.

“It doesn’t really seem realistic. I’m kind of thinking, like what is that all going to include? What kind of quality education am I really going to be getting from the $15,000?” asks Savannah Harper, a junior at Wichita State.

Richardson does tell KSN that the $15,000 degree wouldn’t be in just any field. It will be one that has been deemed in high demand by the board of regents.

“It might not end up being $15,000. I think that that’s a great challenge, and I think it’s very gracious that the governor has framed it as a challenge and we’re up for it,” says Richardson.

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