The presidents of Iowa’s three state-supported universities say recent budget cuts have “disenfranchised” non-traditional students. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob says U-N-I lost three hundred students when some night and weekend classes were cancelled to save money. Koob says there was no intention to do a disservice to non-traditional students, but he says they’re usually the ones who’re hurt first.All three universities offer off-campus classes which appeal to older students who have jobs, but University of Iowa president Mary Sue Coleman says those off-campus classes are more expensive to run, and are the first to be cancelled when budgets get tight.Coleman says the universities are focusing on their core missions in times of budget crisis, and that is educating 18- to 22-year-olds. Coleman says the university will offer fewer continuing ed classes this summer, and that’ll exacerbate the shortage of trained nurses and teachers. Iowa State University president Gregory Geoffrey hopes legislators make higher education a priority, just as they’ve made K-through-12 schools a priority. He says the state would be poorly served if they don’t maintain the quality higher education system for the quality K-12 students.The university presidents appeared before a legislative committee yesterday, asking to be spared from another round of deep budget cuts, but republican Representative Bob Brunkhorst of Waverly told ’em K-through-12 education’s the legislature’s top priority, and all other budgets, including the universities’, will see major cuts.
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