The meeting of Iowa’s Board of Regents this week included discussion of budgets, and how Iowa’s three public universities and schools for the blind and deaf are coping with smaller state funding. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob says he thinks we’ll see the end of unavoidable double-digit tuition increases. He guesses that just like the stock-market bubble, it’ll start receding and we’ll see only single-digit tuition increases because the state’s fiscal situation has stabilized. Koob says people don’t realize tuition increases at the universities were simply a dollar-for-dollar replacement of funding they lost from the state. In fact, Koob says the funding taken away by the state was greater than they made up using tuition increases, and the big hikes weren’t the schools’ fault, they were caused by the state failing to adequately fund the universities. Koob says U-N-I’s made plans to regrow the institution without depending on state funding, and that strategy includes the higher tuition paid by students who come from other states. Out-of-state student tuition, he explains, is higher than the cost-per-student from instate tuition and appropriations. Koob says if they can use the high quality of education to convince out-of-state students that it’s still an education value at $11,000 instead of the four-thousand dollars Iowa students pay, they can grow size of the school back to fourteen-thousand students. Koob says he’d also like to see board of regents members more engaged in the legislative process, because going face-to-face with lawmakers could help make their case for funding the universities and specialty schools.
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