Making KU affordable

Tuition compact

The compact offered first-time freshmen who started at KU from 2008-2009 through the 2017-2018 academic year, the opportunity to choose a fixed tuition rate for four full years, the amount of time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree.  The tuition compact is no longer available for new students starting with the 2018-19 academic year.


Who participates?
First-time, degree-seeking freshmen who started prior to the 2018-19 school year had the opportunity to opt-in to the tuition compact. A first-time freshman is a student who starts at KU immediately after graduating from high school or has never attended another college or postsecondary institution. Students who graduate from high school are first-time freshmen, regardless of the number of college or advanced placement credits earned.
How does it work?

First-year freshmen prior to the 2018-19 school year that choose to opt-in to the four-year tuition compact pay a fixed tuition rate, which will remain in effect for the first four years that the student is enrolled. Students in certain academic programs will pay additional course fees, but these will also be set four years in advance.

Students also pay campus fees which are set by the Student Senate and support student services and activities such as the health services center, the recreation and fitness center and the bus system.

Why does it expire in four years?
Almost all KU bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete if a student takes an average of 16 hours a semester. KU encourages students to maintain a rigorous academic schedule and graduate in four years.
What happens after four years?
After the tuition compact expires, students will pay the standard tuition rate in effect at that time.
Is there a maximum or minimum number of hours in which a student may enroll?
No. The fixed tuition rate is in effect for four years no matter how many courses a student takes.
Does it include summer session classes?
Yes. It is in effect for the first four calendar years at KU no matter how many semesters the student enrolls in.
Is the four-year tuition compact rate the same for Kansas residents and nonresidents?
No. Both fixed and standard tuition rates have resident and nonresident levels. See tuition rates.
What happens if a student leaves KU during the four-year period and comes back later?
Such a student will continue to pay the same tuition compact rate. For example, a student enters KU in August 2011 but withdraws the following year. If that student re-enters KU in fall 2013, s/he will pay the 2011 freshman fixed tuition rate until it expires in July 2016.
What if a student participates in a full-time internship for a semester or a study abroad program?

The clock does not stop if the student leaves campus. The student continues to pay the fixed tuition rate for four years.

Note: Participation in an internship or study abroad program does not prevent students from graduating within four years. In fact, students who study abroad while at KU have higher four-year graduation rates.

Are there any exceptions to the four-year rule?

Students who need to leave KU for extenuating circumstances will continue to pay the fixed tuition rate if they re-enroll. Their fixed tuition rate will be extended beyond its normal expiration date for a period matching the student's absence.

The University Registrar must verify any extenuating circumstances such as military service or emergency medical conditions.

What if a student is in a five-year or six-year academic program?

Of all undergraduate programs at KU, only four are designed to take longer than four years to complete. They are:

  • Architectural engineering
  • Industrial design
  • Music therapy
  • Visual arts education
What about students planning to enter the School of Pharmacy?

In 2010, KU implemented a fixed-rate, guaranteed tuition rate, beginning with those students entering the Pharm. D. program in fall 2010 (Pharm. D. class of 2014). The fixed-rate, guaranteed tuition for the four-year Pharm. D. program includes 100 percent of all tuition and fee-related charges: tuition, course fees, and campus fees. A new four-year rate will be set for each new incoming Pharm. D. class. That annual rate would remain unchanged for the four years of the Pharm. D. program.

A survey of Schools of Pharmacy in the Big 12 and selected schools in surrounding states shows that KU tuition and fees for first year resident Pharm. D. students are the very lowest in the group, while KU's National Institutes of Health ranking is the best and second highest nationwide.


First-Time Freshman

Also referred to as a new freshman, this is a student who starts at KU immediately after graduating from high school or has never attended another college or postsecondary institution. Students who graduate from high school in spring and enroll at KU for fall of the same calendar year are first-time freshmen, regardless of the number of college or advanced placement credits earned.

Standard Tuition Rates

These are the per-credit-hour rates that all KU resident and nonresident students will pay. Since standard tuition rates are set annually by the Kansas Board of Regents, future standard tuition rates are unknown.

Compact Tuition Rates

Compact Tuition was available as an option to first-time, degree seeking freshmen (both resident and non-resident) who entered KU prior to the 2018-19 academic year. This tuition had the same rate for four years starting freshman year.

Required Campus Fees

These are campus fees, approved by and paid by all students, to support services and programs on campus, such as health, recreation, transportation and student activities.

Course Fees

Course Fees are an additional per-credit-hour charge that varies by school within the university to support academic programs and instruction in that specific school.

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