Michael Richards

The board the oversees the three state universities gave final approval for the 2018 budgets during a meeting via telephone Wednesday.

The presidents of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and Northern Iowa each talked about the challenges they face in light of state budget cuts.

Board of Regents President Michael Richards says the university leaders are doing what they can to handle the state funding cuts.

“I think that we have presidents that are willing to work together. There is stress obviously in the state on the budgets and I believe that each school is sort of differentiating itself as having little bit different issues,” Richards says. He says the board and the schools will continue working with lawmakers and the governor on the budget concerns.

“We’re are focusing on what the students need, what the parents need, we’re open to obviously to the legislature. We’re working with them and working with the governor’s office to come up with a good solution — and I think our presidents are the leaders to help us do that,” according to Richards. He says it’s not a fight between education and state government. “We’re all on the same side….and there’s always something more that we can do, and if we have the opportunity we will try to work with them,” Richards says.

The Board of Regents put together a tuition task force to look at the future of tuition and how it fits into the budget picture. It’s meeting schedule last week where they were supposed to hear from legislative, economic development and business representatives was canceled. Richards says he’s not concerned about that.

“I think it was really a situation of timing this summer, it was hard to get everybody’s schedule together,” Richards says. “I know we have a great deal of interest at the universities. So, I think it was more schedules rather than a lack of interest, it was just getting everybody together.

The task force has meetings scheduled next week with each of the three schools where they will talk about their 5-year tuition plans.