PITTSBURG - Proactive financial planning and a strong focus on reducing expenses helped keep Pittsburg State’s tuition increase at its lowest rate in nearly 20 years.

On Thursday, the Kansas Board of Regents approved Pittsburg State’s proposal to increase tuition $76 per semester for full-time undergraduate students paying in-state rates, beginning this fall. Last fall, full-time undergraduate students paying in-state rates paid $2,698 in tuition each semester. The proposal approved this week brings that to $2,774.

The 2.8 percent increase is the university’s lowest increase since 1999, when tuition went up 2.4 percent.

“Our faculty and staff have worked very hard to be diligent with financial resources, while still offering high-quality, transformational experiences for our students,” PSU President Steve Scott said. “I’m proud of the way we’ve worked as a team to make adjustments that help us remain one of the most affordable regional institutions in the nation.”

Pittsburg State’s tuition rates remain among the lowest in the region and in the MIAA. Also, when compared to five similar U.S. universities that are considered peers, PSU’s 2017 tuition and fees are the lowest.

“Our proactive approach to planning has placed us in a sound position,” Scott said. “There are challenges, to be sure. But if you look around our campus and see the hard work of our faculty and staff, and the level of success of our students and alumni, you’ll see that Pittsburg State remains on a clear pathway to prominence.

The dollars raised by this tuition increase will be entirely devoted to covering fixed costs that will be going up in the coming year.

“We understand and appreciate the difficult financial situation in Kansas right now,” Scott said. “We’re hopeful that things will start to turn around soon and that support for higher education and many other state services will turn upward. Until then, however, we will have to rely on reasonable tuition increases to make up for declining state support. That’s simply the reality we’re in at this time.”

Scott said that while he’s proud the university was able to keep the increase below 3 percent, he also acknowledged that any increase can put a financial strain on students and their families.

“Proposing a tuition increase is something we never take lightly or enjoy doing,” Scott said. “We fully understand how the rising cost of higher education can affect students and their families. However, in these times of declining state support for higher education, a modest tuition increase is necessary to maintain the quality of excellence our students expect and deserve.”