The president of the board that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa says board members will visit with House Republicans over the next few weeks, in hopes of convincing GOP legislators to forward more money to the universities.

“This is a process in which we need to negotiate clear to the end to make sure we have the right numbers so there is not a tuition increase,” says Craig Lang, president of the Board of Regents.

Democrats in the Iowa Senate and Republican Governor Terry Branstad have proposed increasing state taxpayer support of the three universities in the next budgeting year, while Republicans in the House have proposed a reduction. Lang says the board “certainly hopes” not to have to raise tuition again.

“Appropriations is much lower on the House side than we hoped for, but we’re happy with the governor. The governor has given us an increase,” Lang says. “…On the House side what we’re doing is we’re working diligently to make sure they increase that number and on the Senate side, that’s a number that we can work with that number, and is we work with that number, then certainly we can hold the tuition to what we promised the students.”

Governor Branstad has suggested the state universities should get $20 million more in state support for the coming year, while Democrats in the Iowa Senate have proposed a $31 million boost for the universities. Bruce Rastetter, president pro tem of the Board of Regents, says the board “understands there’s a process” at work to negotiate with House Republicans, who’ve proposed a cut in state support of the schools.

“We believe it’s actually going to be a positive number that’s going to come out in support of the public universities of Iowa and their value,” Rastetter says.

Rastetter and Lang made their comments during an appearance on the Friday evening Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which will be rebroadcast Sunday at noon.