Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are proposing different levels of state taxpayer support of the Iowa’s three public universities.
House Republicans have a budget plan that would provide no additional money to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University or the University of Northern Iowa — and they’re calling for student tuition and fees to remain the same in the next academic year.
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver said the Senate GOP budget plan includes a budget boost for the three universities of $10 million.
“There is disagreement there, at least in our initial budget proposals,” Whitver said during this weekend’s episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS. “I think it’s difficult to give them zero new dollars and freeze tuition. They have to be able to fund their universities somehow, but…like everything in the budget, we’ll continue to talk with the House about that.”
Representative David Kerr of Morning Sun said House Republicans settled on a tuition freeze and no new state money for the three universities partly because they’ll get federal money from the American Rescue Plan.
“And then when you add the declining enrollment,” Kerr said. “…In 2016 and 2017, there was approximately 82,000 kids enrolled in the Regents universities, now we’re down to 75,000, a little over.”
A spokesman for the board that governs the three universities said everyone has “the same goal of keeping college affordable and accessible for students,” but the responsibility of setting tuition rests with the Board of Regents, “to avoid politicizing Iowa’s tuition rates.”