Students from the three state-supported universities are asking legislators to ensure a promised tuition freeze materializes.
The board that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa has promised tuition rates will not go up if the legislature provides a 2.6 percent increase in state taxpayer support of the schools. University of Iowa student body president Nick Pottebaum of Marion says over 21,000 U-of-I students are waiting to find out what they’re tuition will be next year.
“Iowa students and families will be provided much-needed stability and predictability when it comes to paying for college,” Pottebaum said.
Jordan Bancroft-Smithe of Waverly, the student body president at the University of Northern Iowa, says undergraduate tuition at UNI has more than doubled in the past decade as state taxpayer support of the university declined.
“Last year’s increase in state support was a positive and long-awaited step in the right direction with the support of the Iowa General Assembly and Governor Branstad,” Bancroft-Smithe says. “And we sincerely hope that this is a continuing trend.”
A handful of students spoke at a news conference in the statehouse this afternoon. Matt Pruss of Red Oak, a senior at Iowa State University, made a direct appeal to legislators: “A 2.6 percent increase in state support will allow us to freeze tuition at all three public universities…We hope you would see, as we do, that we are not asking you to ‘fund’ the universities. We are asking you to invest in Iowa’s future.”
A representative for graduate students at the University of Iowa urged legislators to consider providing more money to replace federal grants and loans that eventually may be reduced or eliminated because of the automatic budget cuts that went into effect March 1.