After Failed Referendum, WSU Plans $1.5 Million In Cuts To Pay For New Business School

Apr 26, 2019

Wichita State University is planning on cutting $1.5 million from different departments to pay for a new business school.

The plan comes after students in March rejected a plan to raise student fees by $6 per credit hour to pay for the building and other projects.

Taking funding from other departments was one alternative the university mentioned in a series of town halls before the referendum. The other was to hold another referendum that would have raised fees significantly higher for business school students, though the university decided against that.

"I never thought it was fair to single out one group of students to pay for a building that many other students across campus would be benefiting from as well," said Wichita State provost Rick Muma.

The exact amounts aren't finalized, but cuts could include $675,000 from Academic Affairs; $300,000 from the Barton School of Business; $200,000 from the Office of Research and Technology Transfer; and $100,000 from Athletics. The rest will come from other divisions. 

The cuts will be permanent to pay off a $20 million bond over at least the next 25 years.

Wichita State has already raised $30 million in private donations for the new business school.

The university says the new building is worth the cuts, pointing to boosts in enrollment the University of Kansas and Kansas State University saw after they finished their business school buildings.

Muma says it would also allow them to continue to work with local industry.

"This is central to WSU's long term plans of growth," he said.

Stephan Bisaha reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on @SteveBisaha.

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