The board that governs the state-supported universities approved a budget plan today that would freeze tuition at the three schools for the second year in a row. If the tuition freeze becomes a reality, officials say it would be the first back-to-back freeze since 1975. Board of Regents president, Bruce Rastetter of Alden, says it another mark in the turnaround in funding for the regent schools.
“I think clearly when we look at the funding loss that the universities had received over a period of a decade and the reversal of that in the last couple of years, I’d like to compliment the intuition heads, the advocacy groups within the universities and how we changed doing that in the last couple of years and the importance of that,” Rastetter says.
He credits the leadership at Iowa State University, University of Iowa and Northern Iowa with getting out the message to legislators about the importance of the schools. “Not just what our legislative request is — but the why, where it goes and how it’s spent. And I think that openness and transparency has resulted in stopping the funding loss to the public universities in Iowa that I think are so critical to the growth and development of the state and the economic health of the state,” Rastetter says.
The Board of Regents budget is $653-million, with 67-percent of that going to general education. The request would increase the money sent to the three universities by nearly $30-million.
Rastetter asked those who have supported the schools and pushed for more state funding to not ease up. “It’s been a critical aspect of the legislature and the governor commenting that they’re hearing from stakeholders in the public universities,” according to Rastetter. “So, I encourage everyone to continue to do that.”
The board is required to submit its budget request by October first, and gave it final approval today at their meeting in Cedar Falls.