The president of the Board of Regents laid out their plan moving forward on tuition increases at their meeting Thursday in Cedar Falls.
Michael Richards says they will hold the first reading of tuition in April, but wait until June for the final reading so they know how much state money they have available. This will allow them to avoid another tuition increase in the middle of the year. “This was confusing to families students and Iowans. This is not how we want to treat Iowa students and families. We will set tuition once,” Richards says.
He says they are also acknowledging that Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are different schools with different needs. “We cannot continue to treat the institutions the same,” Richard says, “For UNI, if the state fully funds their request we will begin to take steps to make them more competitively priced with other Midwest comprehensive universities. The degree and the amount will be determined by their appropriation.”
The base tuition increase will be three percent, and Richards says the board will use what he calls “guardrails” in determining the tuition increases for the U-I and ISU. “If the state provides no additional funding, the base undergraduate rate increase will be three percent plus the projected Higher Education Price Index or HEPI,” he explains The HEPI is projected to be two percent this year. He says there’s also the possibility the tuition at the two schools could be below the three percent increase.
“If the state partially funds our appropriation request, the base undergraduate rate will be somewhere within the defined range,” according to Richards. He says they are looking to provide students and parents with a stable system for setting tuition.
“It is our intention to follow this approach for the next five years. The guardrails will become a part of the Board of Regents five-year plan,” Richards says. “Obviously, unforeseen circumstances could cause us to reevaluate.”
The statement Thursday comes after Richards said at the board’s September meeting that they would look at multi-year tuition increases. The board also determined then that it would ask for an additional $20 million in state funding in the next legislative session.