The board that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa has approved tuition hikes for the fall semester, but not before one board member blasted Iowa’s Republican governor and legislators for failing to provide more taxpayer support of the schools.
“The worst state government public attack on our three public universities that I can ever remember,” Board of Regents member Larry McKibben of Marshalltown, said today.
McKibben, a Republican, served 12 years in the Iowa Senate and was the Republican Party’s nominee in Iowa’s third congressional district in1998.
“We are taking three great public universities downhill,” he said.
For students who are residents of Iowa, fall semester tuition will be 3.8 percent higher at Iowa and Iowa State. Tuition rates for UNI students who are Iowa residents will go up two-point-eight percent this fall. Late this morning, the Board of Regents unanimously approved those increases, along with tuition hikes for out-of-state students attending the three universities.
McKibben was the only member of the board to comment before the vote was taken.
“I’m going to vote for this and I’m going to support it, but I think one of the things I’m trying to say to the State of Iowa and the citizens of Iowa is this: ‘We have to do better in the support of these universities,'” McKibben said, describing what he called “pain” at the schools.
A lack of state government support has made this a “very, very difficult time” at the three public universities, according to McKibben.
“Great faculty and staff and researchers at our universities are being picked off by states all over the nation,” McKibben said.
The former legislator predicts state support of higher education will be a “major item” debated in the fall campaign.
“I understand political talk, because I spent the time doing it, but there’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk,” McKibben said. “…If we are going to have economic growth, we have to have economic growth with the great students that come through our universities that stay in Iowa.”
AUDIO of McKibben’s remarks, 7:00
McKibben predicted more Iowa, Iowa State and UNI graduates will take jobs out-of-state to pay off the student debt that’s growing because of increased tuition costs. And McKibben warned there will more significant tuition hikes in the future if the governor and legislators do not boost state support of the three universities.