Jacob Ludwig. (screenshot from meeting video)

All three student body presidents spoke today during the Board of Regents meeting as they held the first reading of a proposed 4.25% tuition increase.

The Board says the increase is needed after they requested an additional 15 million dollars from the Iowa Legislature and lawmakers gave them $5.5 million. ISU student body president Jacob Ludwig says he understands the situation.

“It’s clear to (me) that circumstances have forced the board’s hand. less than desirable appropriations from the state make it impossible to maintain both our current rate of tuition and our high level of academic quality at our institution,” Ludwig says. “The tuition raise is regrettable. I know that the board does not make this decision lightly or with malice.”

The increase translates to around $350 at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and $330  at the University of Northern Iowa. Ludwig says students are grateful for the increase in state support this year — but says state support is not keeping up.

“While support from the state has pretty much stagnated. state budgeting prerogatives have made the acquisition of additional funds an uphill battle that is harder to win with each passing year. This reality means that we have to have to advocate more and harder for these universities that we all love,” Ludwig says.

U-I student body president, Patrick Johnson, talked about the impact of the tuition increase on student debt. “Thirty-thousand-464. That number is the average student loan debt held per borrower in the state of Iowa as of 2021. That’s for in-state residents, a number which figures to increase consistently in the upcoming years,” Johnson says. He says he is also concerned that it costs out-of-state students around $30,000 just for one year of tuition and fees.

“We look to other states to bolster our student body with diverse perspectives from across the nation. At the same time, we asked students to remain in Iowa following their graduation,” Johnson says. “However, I was a state in which the median household income lies in the bottom half of the nation. The contradiction stands boldly before all of us, we continue to increase economic barriers for our students and simultaneously questioning the reasons why they must relocate following their graduation.”

He says state lawmakers need to do more to help.”I’m calling on our partners in the Iowa State Legislature to work together with the Board and with students alike to create the systemic change necessary to provide accessible affordable education to any student who pursues it,” he says.

UNI student body president, Leila Masinovic echoes the concerns. “Students and friends I’ve known for a long time had voiced their concerns about not knowing where to turn to be able to afford to continue their education. Many of them know that as this degree gives them an education — it also secures their ability to build a great future with their families, and in return give back to the community that has helped them get to where they are,” she says.

Masinovic says UNI depends on the state funding even more than the other two universities. “It is vital and only makes sense that the legislature…provides more funding to public universities and supports our community members and receiving their education with less of a burden on Iowa students and families,”Masinovic says.

The Board of Regents will take its first vote on the tuition proposal at its next meeting.