The Iowa Board of Regents Thursday agreed to consider charging more for some areas of study. All undergrads pay the same tuition right now at Iowa’s three public universities, but Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy says it’s no secret that some majors cost the schools more to offer.For example, instruction in engineering is about three times as costly as instruction in some of the humanities, as he says some national studies have shown. “If everybody pays the same tuition,” he says, “it technically means that students majoring in humanities are subsidizing the education of students majoring in engineering.” Geoffroy says you can also consider it as a higher investment in an education that promises a higher payoff once a student graduates and goes into that field of work. Right now all undergraduates at the state’s three public universities pay the same tuition. But the board of regents has voted to let the university presidents recommend varying tuition levels between the schools and majors. University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob says he worries that students will avoid some majors or classes if they cost more. Koob says undergraduate resident tuition ought to be standard, and shouldn’t be a factor in what programs or classifications they choose. Koob says he’s always favored a simple tuition figure that doesn’t discriminate between institutions, majors or classifications of students. That way, he says, they’ve had the freedom to pick the school, the major and what level they wanted to enter, without any kind of “penalty” in the cost of tuition. Koob says he will not recommend different levels of tuition for different majors at UNI. But President Geoffroy says Iowa State hasn’t decided yet. The three presidents will make their tuition recommendations in November, and the board of regents will vote on them in December.
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