Kansas higher ed meets the pandemic

Bets were called, as income plummeted and costs soared. All Kansas institutions were vulnerable, and KU especially so, given the long-term declining pool of domestic students and then its abrupt loss of foreign students.

By

Opinion

February 8, 2021 - 8:43 AM

I arrived in Kansas in 1979, having gone to college, graduate school and then taught in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, states with a single land-grant flagship university. Kansas, I observed, had a much smaller population but two major universities, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, and one, Wichita State University, with such aspirations. Added to these were three regional universities, another (Washburn) receiving substantial state aid, and 19 (count ’em) community colleges. All for fewer than 2.4 million Kansans.

Such immense capacity seemed crazy then, and even more so now,  given the hefty administrative and physical plant costs for all this higher education.

Such surplus capacity and duplication of administration and facilities didn’t bother me much.  KU generally stood strong, and my own department supported my teaching and scholarship.

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