Walt Rogers

Walt Rogers

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have embraced a controversial Board of Regents “performance-based funding” plan that will send more state taxpayer dollars to the public universities that enroll more Iowa residents.

The committee-approved plan would send nearly $13 million more to the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University — and that $12.9 million would be taken out of the University of Iowa’s allotment of state funding.

“I just feel like they don’t need that,” said Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, where UNI is based. “They have $700 million in their cash reserves.”

The Republican plan that cleared the House Appropriations Committee last night does not provide an inflationary increase in state funding for any of the schools either. Representative Cindy Winckler, a Democrat from Davenport, notes the Board of Regents said they’d only be able to freeze tuition rates for in-state students for the fall semester if state support of all three universities increased one-and-three-quarters of a percent.

“I would think that the tuition freeze would be off the table,” she said during last night’s meeting.

Senate Democrats have drawn up a preliminary budget plan of their own that does include the inflationary increase in state support of the state universities, but it does not embrace the performance-based funding formula that shifts funds from the University of Iowa to the other two universities.