The leaders of the state-supported universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City are preparing another round of budget cuts that could run as high as 48-million dollars. University of Iowa president David Skorton says there are some lean years ahead for the universities.Skorton says the state has a real budget problem and since the universities account for about 10 percent of general state spending, they must do their part when it comes to cutting. Skorton says he’ll avoid an across-the-board reduction in the coming year and will make selective, targeted cuts. Skorton says there’ll have to be cuts in all ar4eas of the university, but he will try hard to focus the cuts in administrative or bureaucratic units, protecting as much as possible course offerings for students and research activities. Skorton says he’ll try to avoid layoffs because the university is a major employer. Skorton says he’ll also set aside the same amount of money for student aid, especially since tuition has gone up three years in a row. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob says he doesn’t know where he’ll get money for another round of cuts on the Cedar Falls campus. They’ll do what they have to, but he says the school can no longer ensure it won’t affect the quality of the program. President Koob says UNI may have to reduce the size of the student body, for example, by raising the bar on high-school gradepoint averages, or limiting financial aid. Koob asks how hard they should compete for students — there’s a certain number they’ll attract with a minimum of financial aid to offer as an incentive, but the school has to make the most of it by handing their financial-aid dollars as intelligently as possible. Koob says the University of Northern Iowa has already cut the number of courses required to graduate, to try and move students through the school faster. He says they could also cut more classes that attract only a few students — ten, fifteen…or more. Koob says even if someone would like to take a specialty class and there’s a professor there to teach it, they can’t gather enough people to justify holding the class, which may seem more efficient but leaves students with a “less rich teaching environment.” As for whether more budget cuts will lead to another tuition hike, Koob says that’s up to the board of regents.
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