Governor Chet Culver spoke to the Board of Regents this morning prior to their strategic planning session on the budget. The governor has announced a six-and-a-half percent, across-the-board cut to most state agencies — including the three public universities. If Culver’s budget plan is approved, the regents’ institutions would have 62-million fewer dollars to work with than they did in fiscal year 2009.

The governor says there are still two months to work out the budget details and determine how the universities can cut costs. "Maybe there are some opportunities to save some money, working with the regent’s institutions on things like group purchasing, for example. If we can save some more money there, maybe we can lessen the overall cut," Culver says.

Culver told the regents he’s eager to work with them in order to keep the impact of future cuts on higher education in Iowa low.

Culver says, "I think you have the opportunity to make your case to me and the legislature…where you think you can find some savings and where you think it will be really tough to find those savings."

In a statement released last week, regents’ president David Miles pointed out that since 2001, the real value of the state’s contributions to the public universities and specialty schools has dropped by 94-million dollars. He says 625 state-supported jobs have been lost at the schools in the last eight years and undergraduate tuition for Iowa residents has doubled. Miles said further cuts at the state universities could result in layoffs and salary freezes.