The Board of Regents today approved tuition increase that will average five-percent for in-state students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. The board discussed a proposal from Regent Michael Gartner of Des Moines to roll back tuition 1% for every additional $7-million in funding the state legislature approves for the schools.
Gartner says it would send a message of the impact that funding decisions have on families and students. Gartner says that might be an incentive to increase the state appropriation. But Regent Craig Lang of West Des Moines said the call for more money should come from the public.
Lang says he thinks it’s difficult to make deals with lawmakers, because there are too many priorities. He says they are going to continually fight over tuition increases each year unless the constituents of the lawmakers appeal to the lawmakers about the value of the regents schools. Lang says things won’t change unless the lawmakers hear from voters.
“I think the parents of students should appeal to the people that they elect to office, regardless of what that office is, that this is a top priority,” Lang says, “And until we do that, we’re going to continue to see the cuts in funds, regardless of what party is in power at the time,” Lang says.
Regent Gartner said his proposal would be a way to try and send a message while approving the increase they need at this time. Gartner says there is no risk, as there is no change if there is no new money. He says it’s an attempt to make a deal, and people do make deals with legislators all the time, “that’s what politics is.” Gartner says there is no penalty if there is no increase in state funding, but there would be a benefit if it does happen.
Iowa State University President, Gregory Geoffroy told the regents is was important to set the tuition rate as the schools need to start preparing financial aid information. Geoffrey says having an uncertain tuition rate could be detrimental to recruiting students.
The board voted 7-2 in favor of proposed tuition increase, with Gartner and Regent Ruth Harkin voting no.
See the tutition proposal approved by the board here: Regents tuition proposals PDF