Tuition hikes are coming soon at the three state-supported universities. A key legislative panel has agreed on a budget plan that would send more state tax dollars to the state’s community colleges and public universities for the coming year, but far less than those institutions had requested.
Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a Republican from Mount Ayr, says legislators don’t expect tuition will remain “steady”, but lawmakers tried to dedicate as much new money to the schools as they could.
“I am hopeful that they will be able at least if they do have to increase tuitions it will be very minimal,” Dolecheck says.
The president of the Board of Regents says board members understand the state has “limited funds available,” but Bruce Rastetter suggests state support of the public universities “needs to be more of a priority for the legislature.” And Rastetter says the board will immediately begin discussing a tuition increase at Iowa, Iowa State and UNI for this fall.
Under the plan that cleared a joint House-Senate subcommittee this morning, Iowa’s 15 area community colleges would get $3 million more for the operating year that begins July 1st. The University of Iowa would get $1.3 million in new dollars. Iowa State would receive $2.2million more from the state. The University of Northern Iowa would get the most new money: $2.7 million.
Senator Brian Schoenjahn, a Democrat from Arlington, says U-N-I struggles financially compared to Iowa and Iowa State because more than 90 percent of U-N-I students are Iowa residents — and pay the cheaper in-state tuition rate.
“Northern Iowa received the greatest percentage increase because the committee…believes that Northern Iowa’s needs were the greatest,” Schoenjahn says.
Legislators are also planning cuts to the operating budget for administrators in the Board of Regents executive office and the Iowa Department of Education’s administrative budget as well.