The board the governs the three state supported universities voted unanimously Wednesday to freeze tuition at the schools the second year in a row if the legislature approves a four-percent increase in funding for the next fiscal year. The tuition proposal also included a 16.4-percent cut in tuition for out-of-state students at the University of Iowa Law School in an effort to lure more students to the program.
Board or Regents member, Kate Mulholland of Marion, offered an amendment to give in-state students a break too by cutting the tuition for in-state students who enroll in the law school in the fall of 2014 by the same amount as out-of-state students. Mulholland had this explanation for her motion. “Along with many Iowans, I am concerned about the cost of graduate and professional programs for all of our students — including our resident students. And I am disappointed that the original proposal did not include them in the reduction of tuition,” Mulholland explained.
Regent Robert Downer of Iowa City voiced concern about how the cut would impact the future of the law program with the lost tuition revenue. “It’s I guess difficult for me to be in a position to cast a vote on this without knowing what that impact would be,” Downer said.
Regents president, Bruce Rastetter of Alden, said the cut for instate students would amount to one-million-34-thousand dollars in lost tuition revenue. “My perspective would be — if there’s logic behind lowering out-of-state tuition by 16.4-percent to attract more out-of-state students — certainly the in-state-student enrollment challenge is equally a problem challenge,” Rastetter said.
Regent Larry McKibben of Marshalltown said he favored the idea. “As an Iowa law student, I want to encourage more young people from Iowa to graduate and go to our law school at the University of Iowa. And I think the proposal by regent Mulholland does that, and that’s an incentive. Why do we go shopping on Black Friday? Because the costs are decreased,” McKibben said.
He was out of the country when the board first voted to cut the out-of-state law school tuition, and said he learned about it after returning. “I said ‘what are we doing for the Iowa students?,’ and I didn’t have the answer to it. But I can tell you my visceral reaction was negative. I support regent Mulholland. I hope this generates 20 more Iowa students,” McKibben said.
The board voted in favor of cutting the law school tuition for in-state students, with Downer the only no vote.