The presidents of the three state-supported universities are urging state lawmakers to steer federal and state economic stimulus money their way to offset severe budget cuts.

The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, along with the schools for the blind and deaf, are looking at a possible reduction in state funding of $75-million in 2010 compared with this fiscal year. Board of Regents president, David Miles, says the schools need help from the federal government to avoid more slashes in programs and staff.

Miles says, "There’s clearly a portion of the federal stimulus dollars that have been set aside for education and I think it’s now a determination of where within the education budget that money will go and we’re hoping we’ll participate that money in an appropriate basis and we will appreciate whatever they can do."

Miles says there are a lot of unknowns about the stimulus money. "I think it’s very difficult for even our legislators to know exactly what the restrictions are going to be and how much flexibility they will have. I think we’re getting good feedback in terms of an interest and a willingness and support for our institutions but nothing at a detailed level yet," Miles says.

Miles says he also hopes the universities and the schools for deaf and blind students get some money from the Governor’s proposed $700-million state stimulus package, if it passes the legislature.