Iowa’s governor says the board that governs the state-taxpayer-supported universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City shouldn’t have to raise tuition fees. The Board of Regents meets next week to consider raising tuition for the terms that start this coming January at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I. It’s a move the university presidents say is necessary because state legislators didn’t provide the schools enough money and they’re falling behind competing schools, especially in terms of professors’ pay. Governor Tom Vilsack says since the legislature adjourned in May, he has found some extra dough that should meet the schools needs. “We’ve been able to identify a couple of pots (of extra money),” Vilsack says. The governor wants to forward some money that was unspent by state agencies in the just-concluded state fiscal year to the universities. In addition, Vilsack says there’s federal money available to promote the “bioeconomy,” and part of that will be sent to the universities. Vilsack says there are also extra federal dollars specifically for the University of Iowa. The money will go to the University Hospitals and Clinics as part of a deal state officials struck to get more Medicaid dollars into Iowa, by agreeing to cover more poor Iowans who do not have health insurance.”A combination of all of those steps I think puts us in a position where hopefully the Regents will see that we’ve made a good-faith effort (to find the universities more money) and hopefully they’ll forestall a mid-year tuition increase,” Vilsack says. “I don’t think it would be a good thing to do.” The nine-member Board of Regents meets July 14th in Ames. Last month, the president of the board said a tuition increase was not a “foregone conclusion” since the governor was trying to identify additional resources for the universities.
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