Student leaders at the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa released a joint statement expressing their disappointment at the Iowa Legislature cutting $8 million dollars from higher education in their budget.

University of Iowa student body president, Connor Wooff, told Radio Iowa the student leaders hoped lawmakers would see the universities as an important part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we look at how the impacts of COVID-19 are going to impact our entire state — I was hoping like the rest of the student leaders across the state that we would really prioritize higher education as an economic driver,” Wooff says. The Board of Regents has already voted to freeze tuition for the fall semester.

Wooff believes they will keep that commitment. He says that doesn’t mean that tuition could go up as much as five percent in the next semester and the years to come. He says while tuition might stay the same in the fall, the programs that students depend on will be cut back.

“We are going to really have to look at those on top of the additional cuts we were already having to make as a university. There’s going to be a really negative impact on our experience on campus,” according to Wooff. The statement from the student leaders says “the Iowa Legislature’s actions to further disinvest from students and further widen the gap in access to quality education reveals the truth. The state does not value students as an asset; they see us as an expense to be cut.”`