Democrats say the Republican budget plan for the state’s universities is too lean, and will force another big increase in students’ tuition. House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City says the G-O-P’s proposed 25-million dollar cut for Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I is short-sighted. Myers says tuition at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I shot up 39 percent in the past two years, and the cost of tuition is starting to put a higher education out of reach for some students. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says he’s also concerned that Republicans aren’t putting enough state money into the community college system. Gronstal says Iowa community college tuition is the highest in the country. He says that’s completely unacceptable in a state that’s trying to improve its economy by created high-sckilled high-wage jobs. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says the three state-supported universities will get the same amount of state support they did last year. Gipp says “it’s a stretch” to suggest tuition will have to increase at a double-digit rate again next year. He says the universities will have to figure out how to pay professors and staff who’ve negotiated salary increases, and there may have to be more layoffs at the schools. The Republican plan for spending at the Regents universities cleared the House Appropriations Committee this week on a party-line vote and next goes before the 100-member House for debate.
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