The top Republican in the legislature is proposing a “tuition stability act.”House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says one of the problems families and students face is there’s no dependability on what tuition is going to be from their freshman year to their senior year. Rants proposes ensuring that incoming freshmen are charged a tuition rate all four years that grows no greater than the rate of inflation. Rants says the states of Illinois and Michigan have implemented that kind of tuition policy. Rants says the move helps students and parents budget and finance a four-year college education. In the 1980s, democrats in the Iowa legislature discussed tying tuition increases to the higher education price index — which is a sort of measure of the inflation rate on college campuses. Terry Branstad, the Republican Governor at the time, resisted, saying it would tie the hands of the Board of Regents, the board which governs the three state-supported universities. Rants, who is a Republican, argues his proposal might help the board make financial plans farther into the future.But Rants says the ultimate goal of his proposal is to provide parents and students a more predictable tuition target. Rants says it also creates a real incentive for students to complete their degree in four years. Rants says tuition in a student’s fifth and sixth year for an undergrad degree would go up more than the rate of inflation. Rants says he’ll introduce a bill in January to institute this alternative tuition policy. The Board of Regents is meeting today in Iowa City and will discuss a proposed eight-point-three percent increase in in-state tuition. However, the Board won’t vote ’til November to set the tuition rates for next year.
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