A state representative from Sioux City took issue with a email sent out by a state senator to Iowa State University students about a possible tuition freeze. Republican Ron Jorgensen sent his own email to students to counter one sent by Democrat Herman Quirmbach. “I felt Senator Quirmbach’s comments when he sent an email to all the Iowa State students inferred that he was the champion in support of state funding to allow for a tuition freeze, but House Republicans and the governor’s office may not be,” Jorgensen explained.
The governor has said publicly he would like to see a tuition freeze, but wants to see the state revenue figures before agreeing to one. Jorgensen says Republican legislators also want to look at the total budget picture before committing. “We’ve supported tuition freezes in the past, and if it’s prudent to do so from a budgetary standpoint, we’ll continue to look at ways to keep college affordable,” Jorgensen says.
Jorgensen also points out the state could be looking at three straight years of tuition freezes instead of two if Democrats hadn’t blocked a past proposal for a freeze. “Back in — I believe it was the 2012 session — there was a freeze that was proposed in an amendment that when the Senate received the bill, they refused to concur with that amendment and essentially took the freeze out,” Jorgensen explains.
He says he would like to see another freeze, but can’t promise something before the legislature gets a chance to look at all the needs of the state. “I think it’s only prudent to look at the total budget picture before you start making promises,” Jorgensen says. Jorgensen says it’s important that Republicans and Democrats look at tuition issue in a bipartisan way and not try to turn it into a political issue as Quirmbach has done.
Quirmbach, who is an Iowa State University professor, told Radio Iowa his intent was to remind students to keep contacting the governor and Republicans about the issue since they have not committed to the freeze. Quirmbach says the state has enough money available to give the Board of Regents an additional four percent in funding to allow for another tuition freeze, and that’s why Senate Democrats are on board with the idea.