The board that governs the three state universities will keep its tuition freeze in place for the spring semester.
Board of Regents president Michael Richards made the announcement during the board’s virtual meeting yesterday.
“In June, the board voted to keep tuition and mandatory fees flat for the fall 2020 semester for all students,” Richards said. “…The board will not be increasing tuition or mandatory fees for the rest of the academic year.”
Richards said the year-long pause in tuition hikes is the right thing to do in the midst of a pandemic, but he said the board intends to resume its five-year plan of gradual tuition increases, starting in the fall of 2021.
The presidents of Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa says they are facing financial and demographic headwinds that make tuition increases in the next few years critical. University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld, who is retiring this summer, says he “strongly believes” raising tuition next fall is the right thing to do.
“Tuition has to go up,” he said, “or the quality is going to go down.”
Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen said her institution is dealing with a $150 million hit from the pandemic.
“We made it through…those early months of Covid-19 with our general operating budget relatively intact,” she said, “but we’re facing some extremely challenging financial times right now.”
University of Northern Iowa president Mark Nook said the universities need to prepare for the number of high school graduates to drop dramatically in five to six years — as birth rates dipped during the 2008 recession.