Bruce Rastetter

Bruce Rastetter

The leaders of the three state universities are asking the governor to set aside more state tax dollars for the schools, not for new buildings, but for new faculty and support for general operations.

Bruce Rastetter is the chairman of the Board of Regents, the nine-member panel that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

“There are not any new building projects that we’re asking for dollars on and we’ve done an efficiency study,” Rastetter said today. “…The universities are working hard to make sure that as we do have some growth that we’re as efficient with the existing infrastructure as what we can be.”

Rastetter spoke during a budget hearing in the governor’s office today. University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld told the governor faculty salaries aren’t keeping pace and too many are leaving for better pay.

“We’re actually losing a lot of people and being picked off and that, now, has created another set of issues in that we’re having a hard time filling in behind there,” Harreld said. “…We’re on fire.”

Harreld is asking the governor for an additional $4.5 million to boost faculty pay and recruit new faculty. Iowa State University president Steven Leath said his school is nearly at a “tipping point” and he’s asking for a 4.5 percent increase in state funding.

“A lot of things we’re doing at Iowa State aren’t really keeping up with the growth,” Leath said. “We froze undergraduate tuition for five semesters and with this growth, it really put us in a very difficult situation.”

Leath hinted at “alternative” ways of doing business at Iowa State, but he’s not yet providing details.

“With our enrollment looking to increase this fall, ti’s going to be a very complicated problem for us without some adjustments being made,” Leath said.

University of Northern Iowa president William Ruud said while there was a one percent increase in the total number of Iowa high school graduates last May, there’s been a six percent increase in Iowa high school graduates who enrolled at UNI this fall.

“We’re going in the right direction,” Ruud said. “Freshman, sophomore, juniors are up. Graduate students are up. Transfer students are up, so we’re excited about the years to come.”

Ruud said for the next year UNI needs an additional $7.65 million in state support to keep up. Eighty-eight percent of UNI students are Iowa residents, which mean they pay cheaper, in-stte tuition rates. The Board of Regents will meet Wednesday to discuss tuition rates at the three universities.