The board of regents Wednesday heard what University presidents and student leaders think of a proposed seventeen-point-six percent tuition increase. UNI president Robert Koob says he sympathizes with the decision facing board members. He says they expect to use the tuition increases to “hold the line” another year in the face of a difficult budget situation. About thirty students came to Wednesday’s meeting, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. UNI student-body president Jeff Scudder said regents need to get state lawmakers to increase funding. However, he says if we’re ever going to stop the cycle of the legislature telling the board to increase tuition, and shifting support from public to private, they need to take a stand in November. Board members will vote in November on the proposed increase, and regents president Owen Newlin concedes the board faces a tough balancing act. Between quality and excellence, he says, and between affordability and access — the tuition increase before the board doesn’t even make up cuts in state funding, Newlin says. The 17.6 percent increase would raise the base tuition at the three universities by 650-dollars per student for the 2003-2004 school year. Regents passed an 18-point-five-percent increase last year. Some of the students who attended this week’s meeting carried signs that read “Stop the Hikes” and “Say No to the Privatization of Education.” The University presidents told the regents they’d use money from the tuition hikes for student financial aid, hiring new faculty and covering inflationary costs.
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