A recent study says Oklahoma is leading the U.S. in higher education cuts over the last five years. In seven states, including Kansas, the last five-year appropriations for education accounted for an overall decrease.
The decreases range from nearly 18 percent in Oklahoma to 1.8 percent in Arkansas and Kansas, the Tulsa World reports.
At Barton Community College, Vice President of Administration Mark Dean has often reported on cuts in state aid. The college operated under a 4 percent budget reduction of state aid for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. This year state aid for Barton is approximately the same as it was in 2008, even though the number of in-state credit hours has increased. Inflationary expenses and unfunded mandates from the state and federal government also continue to increase.
Once the Legislature finally meets its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for K-12 education, it should look at its support for higher education. Otherwise, tuition will continue to rise, making a college education something only a few can afford to pursue.