The Board of Regents had the first reading Wednesday of a proposal to raise base undergraduate tuition rates for instate students by 3.9% at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The tuition at the University of Northern Iowa would stay the same.
The Board says the increase is needed after they requested 18 million more state dollars — but the budget approved by lawmakers provides 12 million dollars.
ISU student body president, Austin Graber spoke to the board during the meeting.”No one is thrilled to be having this discussion once again on the tuition increase proposal,” Graber says. “These discussions in these meetings are happening too often.”
Graber says they need to work harder at telling the story of each school to lawmakers. “I understand that the Board of Regents is doing everything they can with the limited resources available, but we have to find solutions for our hardworking students and my fellow classmates. Clearly higher education is not a top priority for our state based on the current proposal. We have to put more emphasis on the importance of higher education and showcase an our alumni are doing at each university,” Graber says.
He say the Regents need to consider how a vote to raise tuition will impact students. “Although the tuition at Iowa Regent institutions is low when compared to peer intuitions — this does not minimize the impact these increases have on students and families that are struggling to pay the current tuition,” Graber says.
U-I student body president Noel Mills thank the board for waiting to consider tuition until they knew how much money the state would provide.
“We value the ability to budget and make sound financial decisions. However, we implore the administration to seriously consider how big of a burden just a few hundred dollars can place on students,” Mills says.
She went on to illustrate her point. “A mere 300 dollars would require around 30 hours of work, eight appointments donating plasma, or skipping around 60 meals,” according to Mills. “These are very real consequences for my peers and for me. With scholarship opportunities dwindling, rent prices increasing, and a cap of 20 hours per week on university affiliated jobs — students are already struggling to make ends meet.”
Mills says students want to find other solutions.”We are committed to working with you to find other ways to lighten the load — but we ask that you continue pressuring our legislators to consider the value our university brings to Iowa, and fund it appropriately,” Mills says.
The Board of Regents will vote on raising the tuition at its June meeting.