Governor Kelly’s budget proposal for the University

Posted on Jan 19, 2021 in Campus News and News

State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas

Dear Jayhawk for Higher Education,

Thank you for your continuing advocacy on behalf of KU. As you know, the Kansas Legislature convened last week for its 2021 session, and last Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly released her budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year. The Governor’s annual budget recommendations typically serve as a starting point for legislative debate throughout the spring.

This year, the Governor recommends a 5.3 percent cut to KU’s base appropriation, which amounts to $13.6 million. This proposed reduction includes a $7.6 million cut for Lawrence and a $6 million cut for KU Medical Center. As a percentage, this would be the largest cut to KU since 2010. As a total dollar amount, this would be the largest cut to KU in history.

Additionally, the Governor proposes salary increases for other State agency employees, but there is no such direct appropriation for universities. Instead, she recommends $10.4 million for the Kansas Board of Regents to utilize at its discretion.

We are disappointed and concerned by the Governor’s proposed budget and its singling out of higher education. Due to the pandemic, KU already faces a Fiscal Year 2022 projected shortfall of $74.6 million that will require us to eliminate programs and departments, reduce services, and implement furloughs and layoffs on a large scale. A reduction in state funding would necessitate these measures be even more drastic, causing irreparable harm to KU and further diminishing our ability to serve Kansans.

The Governor’s budget proposal is just that—a proposal—and her recommendations may or may not end up in the Legislature’s final budget. We will continue to work with legislators to help them understand the importance of adequately funding KU at this crucial moment.

For more information on KU’s legislative agenda, please visit KU Public Affairs’ state relations page. We will continue to share email updates throughout the session, and we appreciate your help in encouraging lawmakers to support KU so our university can continue to serve Kansans by educating future leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.

Thank you, and Rock Chalk!


Heath Peterson signature

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09
President, KU Alumni Association

 Jayhawks for Higher Education communicate the importance of the University and higher education to the Kansas Legislature. Alumni advocacy is a longstanding tradition of the KU Alumni Association as an independent nonprofit organization. Informed advocates help strengthen the University.