The presidents of the three state universities made their case for proposed tuition increases to the state Board of Regents today in Iowa City. University of Iowa president, Sally Mason, led off the discussion. Mason says she is requesting a total increase of 4.7% total increase in tuition and fees, which is a 5% increase in tuition and a 3.1% increase in fees. An undergraduate student would pay $348 more next year to attend the school.

Mason says the increase will still keep their tuition lower than most other schools. She says they remain one of the “best buys for quality in higher education in the nation.” Mason says the tuition would not make up for the state budget cuts they have received in the last several years, as they have manage down costs, eliminated unattractive degree programs, kept their eye on flood recovery and run a lean and efficient operation.

Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls would increase tuition and fees by 4.9% for both in-state and out-of-state students. U.N.I. President, Ben Allen, says their enrollment is 91% Iowa students and increasing the enrollment from out-of-state students is one area where they could improve. But he says raising the tuition very much more on out-of-state students could hurt that.

Allen says he believes there is a fairly elastic demand for out-of-state students and raising their tuition to high might make them stay in their home state. He says they are working on the marketing side to keep up the number of those students.

Iowa State University is asking for a 7% increase in tuition and fees. President Greg Geoffrey says the fees include a $180 recreation fee that goes into effect this year. He says the increase would bring in 11-million more dollars. Geoffroy says that compares to the $16.7-million cut in funding proposed by the governor, and does not include any of the mandatory cost increases, including the recently bargained AFSCME contract.

He says they will have to continue with their cost-cutting and efficiency measures even if the tuition increase is approved. The Board of Regents will vote on the tuition proposals at their next meeting in March.