Campus leaders from the three state-supported universities today (Tuesday) asked lawmakers to provide more state tax money to the schools to ensure tuitiion rates don’t go up as much as they have in the past few years. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob told lawmakers U-N-I’s enrollment has declined as a result of skyrocketing tuition rates. Over the last four years, tuition rates at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I have increased over 50 percent. University of Northern Iowa student body president Brendan Moe, a junior from Joice, Iowa, says it’s taking a toll.”Over the past six years, loan indebtedness for those students at the University of Northern Iowa who borrow has increased from 16-thousand-700 to 22-thousand dollars,” Moe says. Furthermore, he says 75 percent of U-N-I students had to borrow to pay their tuition and fees this year. That’s nine percent more than just last year. University of Iowa student body president Lindsay Schutte, a Keokuk native, says if legislators give the universities an extra 40 million dollars, the Board of Regents promises to keep tuition increases at four percent a year. “Predictable tuition for the families of Iowa is an absolute must and that’s what this plan does,” Shootee says. “It allows us and our families to be able to plan for the future.” University of Iowa president David Skorton.Skorton says “more moderate” tuition increases are essential. Iowa State University president Gregory Geoffrey says the universities are shifting money from lower to higher-priority areas. For instance, at Iowa State Geoffrey wants to hire more professors for the business school because that’s where students are demanding more classes. “It’s faculty who lead the education programs and who direct those world-class research efforts, so we will be really focused on strengthening the excellence of our faculty and faculty numbers in critical areas,” Geoffrey says. I-S-U student body president Sophia McGill, a senior from Charter Oak, supports the focus on .hiring more faculty. McGill says “wonderful and knowledgeable and talented faculty” are needed as the schools focus on the quality of instruction. The university presidents and student leaders testified before the panel of legislators that will write a spending plan for the universities. The college presidents, including Geoffrey, pledged to do what’s necessary to consolidate to cut expenses. “The three universities work together very effectively as partners. We typically don’t compete with each other except on the athletics field,” Geoffrey says. “I think it’s important just for everybody to understand that because that’s really the way we operate.”