The Board the governs the three state-supported universities plans to ask for enough funding from legislators to enable the schools to freeze tuition for a second straight year. The Board of Regents will review the funding requests for the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa and Iowa State University at their meeting next week in Cedar Falls.

If they follow through and the legislature grants the funding, it would be the first time in nearly four decades that tuition held at the same level for two straight years. The Board of Regents is also scheduled to move forward with the transparency measures recommended by its Transparency Task force.

Regent’s communications director, Sheila Koppin, says one of the first measures instituted will be a public hearing this Friday. “Basically they are open forums for anyone to come in and express their opinions, their thoughts, ask questions,”she explains.

The hearings will include Board of Regents staff and not the regents. “It is not intended to be a discussion or conversation. It is for us here in our office to make note of what the public wants to express to us so that we can share that information with board leadership,” Koppin says.

She says the information will then be used by the Board of Regents staff and leadership to come up with items that may be addressed at board meetings. The hearings do not take the place of public comments at the monthly regent meetings.

The board will continue to take public comments at the meetings and is also revising the process so someone wishing to speak can make a request in writing to the executive director of the Regents.

“It streamlines the timing of the request to come before the board,” according to Koppin. The previous request said students, faculty and other employees of the state schools had to make requests to speak to the board through the head of the institutions, and the institution head would forward the request to the executive director.

Friday’s public hearing will be at the Board of Regents office in Urbandale from noon until one P.M. Koppin says hearing will be videotaped and place on the board website.