Iowa Senate proposes tuition freeze for 2014


Graphic: Azwan Azhar/ Iowa State Daily

The Board of Regents is considering another tuition freeze for the 2014 fiscal year.

James Scott

Members of the Iowa Senate proposed a tuition freeze for the second year in a row. 

The Democrats, who control the Senate, want a freeze on the three state universities for the 2014-15 school year. If approved, this would be the first time since 1975 that the universities did not increase tuition for two consecutive years. 

Senate Democrats also have proposed tuition freezes on community colleges in the state of Iowa. Average tuition at community colleges increased 2.8 percent this fall.

“The state of Iowa is in great financial shape,” said Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Story. “We’ve seen increases in revenue, and helping college students afford higher education is something the state can afford. Controlling cost and increasing state investment is better than asking struggling families to pay more.”

The Board of Regents will present its proposal for another tuition freeze in January, when state legislators return from break. The proposed tuition freeze is included in a $652 million request to the Legislature for funding in 2014.

That is an increase of $44 million from last year’s proposal to adjust from inflation and funding statewide programs in agriculture and economic development.

“When I see the budget proposal in January, we’ll have a better view on the proposal for freezing tuition again. The House has yet to see a budget from the Board of Regents,” said Rep. Dave Deyoe, R-Story. “I think it’s important to keep school affordable, so students don’t graduate will huge debts.”

If approved, the money will go toward funding state universities.

“Being a college professor, I see first-hand the effects on student loans for college students,” Quirmbach said.

The Democrats in the Senate are calling for support from Gov. Terry Branstad and the Republican-controlled House to agree on the proposal.

“Many Republicans would like to see more administration savings at the state universities,”  Deyoe said. “Most are waiting to see the proposal by the Board of Regents, and the budget from Gov. Branstad.” 

The average student graduating from a four-year university is $29,000 in debt, the sixth highest rate in the country, according to Iowa College Student Aid Organization.

 “I think that the tuition freeze will be approved, and there will be bipartisan agreement to extend the tuition freeze for next year,” Deyoe said.

The Senate Democrats made the proposal back on Sept. 27 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.