PITTSBURG, Kan. — Tuition for undergraduate students at Pittsburg State University will remain flat next year following approval Wednesday by the Kansas Board of Regents, the university's governing body.

Tuition for full-time, in-state undergraduates will remain at $2,847 per semester, and it will remain at $8,519 per semester for non-resident undergraduate students. The university's flat-rate tuition model allows full-time students to enroll in additional credit hours without paying additional tuition.

"We're sensitive to the challenges faced by students and families, and we're doing all we can to remove the cost barrier to earning a college degree," said PSU President Steve Scott in a statement. "Over a lifetime, a college graduate earns around $1 million more than a non-graduate, and our goal is to ensure everyone in our region has that opportunity."

Scott said it was the state Legislature’s recent investment in higher education that prompted PSU officials to want to keep tuition flat. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly recently approved a partial restoration of funding for higher education in Kansas.

“We’re deeply appreciative of the Legislature’s hard work in that area,” Scott said. “And at the same time, we are committed to continuing our own efforts to operate efficiently and find savings where we can and pass those savings along to students and families.”

Pittsburg State's Gorilla Advantage program, which offers in-state tuition to students in certain areas outside of Kansas, will expand in the fall of 2020 to include every county in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Tuition for full-time graduate students will increase by 1.8% next year, from $3,280 per semester to $3,339 per semester for resident students and from $8,600 per semester to $8,755 per semester for non-resident students, according to board documents.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday opted to keep undergraduate, in-state tuition flat at all six of the state universities it oversees. It had requested $50 million in restored funding for state universities for fiscal year 2020, and state lawmakers had granted $34 million.

“The board believes that keeping tuition flat was incredibly important for Kansas families,” said Dennis Mullin, board chairman, in a statement. “Education beyond high school offers students the best chance at building successful and fulfilling careers. This vote will help keep our state universities affordable and accessible.”

Emily Younker is the assistant metro editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.