A new report on the condition of Iowa’s community colleges shows enrollment has skyrocketed, but so has tuition. Enrollment has gone up 18 percent in the past three years. But state aid for the 15 area community colleges has grown by just eight percent during that time. Iowa Department of Education director Judy Jeffrey says that has forced the schools to turn to their students and increase tuition by 15 percent. Jeffrey says Iowa’s community colleges now have some of the highest tuition costs in the nation. Even though enrollment continues to climb, Jeffrey worries the higher tuition is making a community college degree too expensive for more Iowans. Jeffrey says they’re most concerned about middle-income students who don’t qualify for tuition assistance reserved for lower-income students. She says many middle-income students are now choosing to get their first two years of college at a community college because it’s cheaper than a full four years at a university.Community college leaders are asking legislators for a six percent increase in state support next year. But House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says while the schools may deserve that much more, the state can’t afford it. Rants says the community college request is “problematic” because it outpaces the increase legislators plan to give K-through-12 schools and the increase the state-supported universities are requesting. The annual condition of community colleges report was delivered today to the State Board of Education.
You are here: / / Report says enrollment at community colleges way up