February 7, 2016

Branstad says it’s too soon to decide on tuition freeze

Governor Terry Branstad is expressing support for students and parents, but not yet embracing a tuition freeze for Iowa residents attending the three state universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.

The board that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa has endorsed keeping next year’s tuition rates at this year’s levels, but warns they’ll have to raise tuition if the governor and legislators don’t provide at least 16 million more to the universities next year.

“I’m certainly empathetic with the students and their parents who have seen significant increases in the two previous administrations,” Branstad says.

That’s a reference to the 12-year period when Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver served as governor. During Branstad’s first, 16-year run as governor, tuition increases ranged from 3.2 percent up to nearly 13 percent.

“I want to make sure that we try to keep higher education affordable for Iowa families,” Branstad says.

But Branstad says he needs to wait for a report on state tax revenue and a few other items before he puts together his own state budget plan — and makes a recommendation on state taxpayer support of the three universities. By law, Branstad must present legislators with a state budget proposal by the end of January, but he has often released it earlier.

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