The state board that oversees the three state-supported universities gave final approval to a four percent increase in tuition and fees today at their meeting in Ames. The small increase is part of a plan to try and link tuition increases to the rate of inflation. Board of Regents president John Forsyth of Des Moines says recent double digit increases have pushed tuition to a higher percentage of the average income in the state. He says we can see Iowa is out of step in the tution as a percentage of per capita income when compared to other midwestern states. Iowa ranked 33rd in the nation in the percentage of tuition compared to the average Iowa wage. Minnesota was ranked seventh, Wisconsin 20th, Nebraska 21st and Missouri 30th. After the vote, Regent John Neil of La Porte City made an observation to Forsyth the about the lack of dissent over the increase. He says this is the first time in the last four years that they’ve given final approval to a tutition increase that they haven’t had a roomful of students. Forsyth said he didn’t know if that was good or bad, but Neil says it’s good as the students didn’t come to the meeting urging them to raise tuition, they were speaking against it. Regent Marry Ellen Becker of Oskaloosa says their work with students was a big part of setting the tuition rate.She says the collaboration with the students a year ago talking about how they might impact policy was good. She says one of the things that came out of that dicussion was setting a variable rate for tuition. Student Regent Jenny Rokes of Dike had this comment. She says she’d gotten a lot of e-mails from students and phone calls and says the students are excited about having tuition more predictable, and she thanked the board. Under the tuition proposal, Iowa State, Iowa and U-N-I will make some changes in their budgets to reallocate 20 million dollars in their budget for high-priority items and they’re asking the legislature for 40 million dollars worth of suppport. Beginning in summer 2005, in-state undergraduates at the University of Iowa will pay five-thousand-612 dollars annually, an increase of 216 dollars. Iowa State University students will pay five-thousand-634 dollars, an increase of 208 dollars. University of Northern Iowa students will pay five-thousand-602 dollars, a 215 dollar increase.
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