The state board of regents will begin examining tuition rates in September, and this year the process will be different. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob says state funding’s taken a sharp drop and that in turn has sparked more intense student interest in the cost of their education. Instead of coming to the table in September with a number as they have in the past, he says regents have invited others to talk about it, and will ask for ideas and models. Koob says one example is Illinois, where students pay the same rate of tuition they entered with. He says it sounds good if you’re the class that’ll pay the same for four years but someone enrolling a year later will pay a higher tuition increase than if it had been spread among all students. He compares that to airline travelers who may discover they paid 200, 400 or 600 dollars for a ticket on the same trip. Koob says Iowa students should have predictable tuition increases they can plan for, and adds the current model has worked quite well. If there hadn’t been such a sharp downturn in state support and had to make up for it with tuition dollars, he doesn’t think Iowa’s tuition model would have been questioned since he sees it as “pretty sound.” Nevertheless, the board will discuss alternative models in September, receive tuition proposals in October and probably take a final vote in November.
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