The Board of Regents discussion of a proposed tuition increase Thursday had a few unusual twists, with student body representatives saying they understood the need for the increase, and then the regents discussing an unprecedented third year freeze.
The proposed increase would amount to around 116 dollars in tuition for students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.
UNI student government president, Kevin Gartman, told the board that the students in Cedar Falls would be okay with the increase. “They support the increase, because they understand that without it, UNI faces even greater funding challenges which can negatively impact the quality of education that the university is able to provide,” Gartman said. “Students want to maintain the high quality of education that they receive at UNI.”
Gartman said the environment students have at UNI is important to them. “UNI students cherish their small class sizes. For many students it was the deciding factor when they chose to attend UNI. And there are many students who are willing to pay the cost of a tuition increase if it means maintaining their small class sizes,” Gartman says.
He suggested that the Board of Regents adopt yearly increases in tuition. “We need to allow students the ability to plan for their future knowing what the cost of higher education will be and giving them their chance to adapt to it,” Gartman said. “I believe it is vital to keep higher education affordable in the state of Iowa and I think it is important to be transparent with increases. I call upon the Iowa Board of Regents to implement systematic small tuition increases into the plan for the state of Iowa student tuition, so that students will not be faced with the dramatic increases that they have been face with in years past.”
The president of the Iowa State University student government, Hillary Kletscher, agreed. “Students consistently say, ‘you know it’d be really great to see another tuition freeze and another one,’ but they understand that higher education does come with a cost. And the thing I’ve gotten again and again from students is a small incremental increase is something that we can understand and it’s something that we can work with,” Kletscher said.
Kletscher said it is important to keep make sure the state provides a quality education at the schools. “Our students want to stay in Iowa, and when I talk to the engineering students, the agriculture students, students in all of the colleges, they want to stay in Iowa, they want to contribute to the economy and the communities in this wonderful state,” Kletscher said. “And I think we need to continue to put that value on higher education so that they stay here. And their families in the future and their children, come back to our wonderful universities.”
U-I student government president, Patrick Baroski, agreed that maintaining the quality of the education they receive is the most important issue. After hearing from the students, Regent Larry McKibben said he was worried about the debt load on students in Iowa and said he would propose another tuition freeze when the board takes a vote on the issue at their December 3rd meeting.
The campaigns of the two candidates for governor each sent out a news release congratulating the regents for “voting” to not raise tuition, even though no vote was taken.