The Iowa Senate has voted to give the University of Northern Iowa $4 million more than the University of Iowa and Iowa State University would be getting next year in general state support. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says UNI has far fewer out-of-state students who pay much higher tuition rates than Iowa residents.
“The University of Northern Iowa — over 90 percent of our students are from Iowa,” Danielson says. “We do not have the ability to raise extra revenue from out-of-state students.”
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says U-N-I deserves that “added increment” of state support.
“They are our primary teacher-training institution. They plant and harvest the seed corn on which we grow our whole educational system,” Quirmbach says. “They train our K-12 teachers.”
Senate Democrats have voted to provide the three state universities, overall, with $34 million more in the next budgeting year. House Republicans have taken a different approach, calling for a $31 million cut in state support of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI. Governor Branstad has proposed a funding increase and is pressing his fellow Republicans to provide a $20 million boost to the universities.
The Senate voted on two education-related bills late Monday afternoon, approving a spending plan for Regents universities along with the Department of Education and community colleges in one bill. The other bill, which will not be considered in the Republican-led House, calls for a two percent boost in the general level of state aid to K-12 schools for the 2013/2014 academic year. Governor Branstad and Republicans in the House say they want to wait until a teacher pay package is developed this fall and next winter before deciding how much general state aid to send schools.