When the board of regents meets next week, it will take up an increase in the charge for dorm rooms and meal tickets.Schools would increase the cost six to 8 percent, making a full room-and-board package at a state university about five thousand dollars a year. Regents Executive Director Greg Nichols says that’s still the lowest of just about any comparable university. Nichols says there’s a record number of spring-semester students enrolled, up about three-percent from a year ago. He says Spring term’s always lower than the fall, but this spring enrollment is up 1,800 students for the three campuses combined. You’d think more students would help the schools, especially as they see their state funding cut, but Nichols says it doesn’t work that way. But in the short term he says it’s worse, since their tuition is only part of the cost of providing an education. University parking and residence systems are self-supporting and not linked to any state funding. The economy may be sending more Iowans into the classroom, or keeping them there, as Nichols says a clear pattern’s emerged at all three regents universities.There are more undergrads going for a bachelor’s, more getting a Professional degree, but fewer seeking a master’s degree. Clearly a tougher job market makes more decide to stay in school and get a bachelor’s, but it’s harder to figure why they’re less interested in getting the Masters.
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