The board that governs the three state universities approved a $100 surcharged for students in the spring semester to help make up for the 10% budget cut ordered by the governor. The Board of Regents also tabled a proposal to increase the tuition for the next year by six percent. The regents hope to get more financial information in the next few weeks that will better allow them set the level of tuition.
As for the surcharge, regents Robert Downer, Bonnie Campbell, Rose Vasquez, Jack Evans, and David Miles voted in favor, while regents Ruth Harkin, Craig Lang, Michael Garter, and student member Greta Johnson voted against the surcharge. Downer says he decided to vote for the surcharge after talking with several people and one person in particular.
Downer says that person told him the students were going to pay either directly with the surcharge, or likely pay later on through the errosion of the value of their degrees. Regent Craig Lang had said before the meeting he was against the surcharge and said he heard nothing new to change his mind.
Lang says they are dealing with the symptom of “a great illness across this country with a shortage of revenue, a world recession,” and he believes the appropriate place to ask for tuition is the year previous to when the tuition is charged. Lang says students will then know how much money they will need.
The presidents of the three student bodies spoke to the regents before the vote. The president of Iowa State’s student body, Jonathan Turk, said he was against the surcharge. Turk says he does not mean to say that students should be exempt from solving the budget crisis, but he asked them to look at the ramifications of “taxing” students in the middle of the year and what it might mean to accessibility to education.
Adam Haselhuhn of U.N.I. also spoke against it. Haselhuhn says he understands the need for the surcharge, but says the students at U.N.I. do not support it. He asked the regents to look at the surcharge individually among the schools. University of Iowa student body president, Mike Currie, said his school has already done a lot to meet the budget crisis and says the surcharge is not too much if it keeps the quality of the school up.
“It is a bargain in my opinion if that can prevent us from losing staff, losing professors, losing T-A’s or losing programs. The one hundred dollars is not adding to anything, it is a preservation of the things that we need,” Currie says. the surcharged and tuition discussions were part of the overall plans of the three state universities to cut their budgets.
The regents also approved plans by the three presidents for furloughs and reductions in retirement contributions to make up the 10% budget cut. The three presidents also said they would forgo their pay bonuses.