The president of the Board of Regents says the group that oversee the three state universities wants to provide students and their parents with more predictability when it comes to tuition increases.

Board president Michael Richards says they should now how much funding they will get from the state by mid-April, and be ready to set next year’s tuition at its June meeting. “We must get this right and will only approve rates one time this year. We need the proper mix of financial resources at our universities. This must be done collectively, it takes all of us working together to maximize the resources of our public universities,” Richards says.

He says the board has been considering tuition increases below four percent and a long-term tuition strategy. “This fall we intend to announce a multi-year tuition model, with a baseline percentage increase for the next five years, starting with the 2019-20 academic year,” Richards says. “We will do further study this year to determine the range of increase each year.”

Richards says they have listened to concerns about raising tuition in the middle of a year. “We want to come up with a plan that allows for students and their families to know what tuition rates will be and what will be projected for the next several years,” Richards says.

Regent Larry McKibben of Marshaltown is a former state legislator and says the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa need more state support to maintain their quality. He says the state should take money from its cash reserves instead of another budget cut to the schools for this year.

“So now were are talking about a 35 million dollar cut in the budget mid-year and they have tens of millions of dollars in a rainy day fund,” McKibben says. “I have said and I have communicated to some of my former colleagues in the legislature that that is not acceptable as far as I am concerned,” McKibben says. McKibben says legislators and lawmakers are blaming the down farm economy for budget woes — but he says it’s soemthing else.

“It is all about priorities — it’s all about the priorities of whether we do this or whether we use some of the funds out of the rainy day funds. And we know with the federal change in tax law we know that we will have more revenue coming into the state of Iowa because of the reduction in the amount of the federal deductibility,” McKibben says. He says the reserve funds are the answer to funding the schools.

“There is no reason for a mid-year budget cut. There is absolutely no reason for a mid-year budget cut,” McKibben says. McKibben says some of the schools have already lost faculty to higher paying jobs in other states, and that will continue if the state does not give them more funding.