A proposal to deny pay raises to the presidents of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI if tuition rates for students go up has died in the Iowa House. Representative Jeremy Taylor, a high school teacher from Sioux City, was pushing the idea.
“There’s an age-old fallacy within education institutions that you either give us more money or students are going to suffer,” Taylor said. “Now I think there is a third-rail and a third option and that option is to look at administrative expense, and the cuts should come from the top.”
A three-member subcommittee rejected Taylor’s bill after more than 20 minutes of discussion on Thursday. Representative Mary Mascher is a Democrat from Iowa City, which is home to the University of Iowa. She told Taylor tuition hikes are really the fault of legislators who’ve failed to provide the state universities enough money.
“You seem to think there isn’t a correlation between what we allocate in the legislature and tuition increases and what I’m telling you there’s a direct relationship,” Mascher said.
Representative Josh Bynes, a Republican Osage, suggested the bill’s death doesn’t mean the “critique” of university administrators is over.
“I realize that this bill has got some heartburn all the way around,” Byrnes said. “I think that sometimes legislation can also be used as raising awareness and I think the awareness piece here on this piece of legislation is that there’s a serious concern about rising tuition costs.”
In December, the board that governs the state universities voted for a 3.75 percent increase in tuition rates for undergraduates who are residents of Iowa. That higher rate goes into effect for the fall semester. This past August the Board of Regents voted to hike the base salaries for the presidents of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI by four percent. UNI president Ben Allen and his wife have donated his salary hike to a university scholarship fund. Iowa State’s president retired in January and his replacement has taken over in Ames.