While students at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I are paying more tuition, the cost of educating students actually goes down some years according to a State Auditor’s report. U-N-I’s tuition from 1998 through 2003 increased each year, but the cost to educate a student actually decreased in 2001. It rose again in 2002, but it was still less than it had been in 2000. Aaron Podolefsky (poh-duh-LEF’-skee), U-N-I’s vice president for academic affairs says one of the reasons for the fluctuation is demographic changes on campus.Podolefsky says last year, the proportion of freshman and sophomores was smaller than the junior, senior and graduate classes. He says that made it more expensive to educate the U-N-I student body since juniors, seniors and graduate students attend smaller classes — increasing faculty costs. Podolefsky says universities are “in the people business” and with “real faculty” in the classroom, student advisors, and people in the registrar’s office, salaries are the single biggest expense. Podolefsky says a second factor in U-N-I’s cost per student is how many tenure track professors the university is employing compared to part-timers called “adjunct professors.” Podolefsky says if a faculty member leaves or retires, then they’re replaced with a temp professor while a roughly year-long search is made for a permanent replacement. Podolefsky says tuition has been increasing while the cost per student at U-N-I has gone down recently because tuition rates are tied to the amount of state taxpayer dollars dedicated to the universities. That state aid has been on the decline for the past few years, and Podolefsky says students have been asked to make up the difference through increased tuition. Students at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I are back in the classroom today for the start of the fall term.
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