Two leaders of the board that governs the three state-supported universities say they’re considering changes that would distribute state taxpayer support based on the number of Iowa residents enrolled at each school.
Under the present formula for distributing state support, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University each get 40 percent and the University of Northern Iowa gets the remaining 20 percent. Yet Board of Regents president Craig Lang points out UNI has the highest percentage of in-state students — 92 percent of UNI students are Iowans.
“We really think there’s a need for us to look at Iowa dollars following Iowa kids,” Lang says. “We know that would be very troublesome, especially for the University of Iowa. We don’t want to put the University of Iowa in that position, but we’d like to look long-range at more Iowa dollars as they are enrolled into the universities.”
About 68 percent of ISU students are Iowa residents, but a little less than half of University of Iowa students are Iowans. Regents president pro tem Bruce Rastetter says UNI is a different kind of university than Iowa or Iowa State, with far less research going on at the Cedar Falls campus compared to what’s happening in Ames and Iowa City.
“It doesn’t have those outside dollars coming in to benefit that, nor does it have very many outside students, so I think the key is us recognizing that in the last couple of years, asking the legislature for special funding,” Rastetter says. “…You’ll continue to see us think about that, publicly talk about what are the best solutions to make that a great university.”
Both Rastetter and Lang say changes in the state funding formula for the universities aren’t coming soon, though. The two men discussed this and other topics during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs tonight at 7:30 on Iowa Public Television.