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Kansas Colleges & Universities Face Financial Fallout Ahead of New Conceal Carry Law

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PARSONS, KANSAS -

Beginning July 1st, concealed guns will be allowed inside many public buildings in Kansas and on college campuses.  There's a big test coming for Labette Community College, and other higher education places in the state.

"I probably don't feel comfortable talking about the political perspective of that," says Labette Community College Mark Watkins, Ed.D.

But here's a nonpartisan look at how the college will have to deal with Kansas politics.

"EMC is the name of an insurance company that provides liability coverage for many of the colleges in Kansas," says Watkins.

It appears that liability insurance company feels there will be a greater risk of people getting shot on college campuses, once the new Kansas law allowing concealed guns takes effect.

"They made the decision to withdraw their coverage for those institutions of higher learning in Kansas," says Watkins.

The college's new liability insurance from a different provider will increase by close to $14,000 a year.  State lawmakers made the decision to pass the new conceal carry law, of course.

"To the best of my knowledge, they had an understanding that there were going to be some probable increases in our costs incurred," says Watkins.

Despite those additional costs...

"The state continues to reduce our revenue from them," says Watkins.

So for now, administration workers at Labette Community College plan on doing some relatively small budget balancing of their own.

"Somebody would retire or resign, we may not be able to fill those positions," says Watkins.

Current college staff would have bigger workloads.  If that doesn't save enough money, there may be tuition increases.  The college's president says things aren't dire, and education will go on, no matter what.

But the possible reality is...

"Ultimately, if the costs continue to go up, we begin to marginalize a greater number of people who will no longer be able to afford to go to community college," says Watkins.

Labette Community College has already increased tuition by $4 a credit hour to help offset these new costs.  We left a message with a spokeswoman at EMC, but have not yet gotten a response.

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