Possible increase to Board of Regents budget means good news for Iowa State

Aimee Burch

Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a $20 million increase to the Iowa Board of Regents, according to the proposed state budget for the fiscal year 2013. This increase is one of the largest proposed by the governor in this budget and will be the first increase of any sort by the regents since fiscal year 2009.

Warren Madden, vice president for business and finance, said that much of the administration is optimistic that this proposed increase will pass the required channels.

“Recommendations like this tend to be in the range of what happens,” Madden said.

The budget does not specify exactly how this money will be divided among the three regents universities, making it hard to speculate exactly how this money will be used or even whether the schools will get some, all or none of the proposed $20 million. The regents do know that even if the increase does not pass, they will not see any reduction in funding, with the level staying at fiscal year 2012 levels.

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Hoffman was unavailable for comment, but she did send a statement to the Daily saying the proposed increase is “very good news,” but there are no specific bills to comment on just yet.

Madden echoed this statement. He cited the long process a proposal must go through before it can be signed into law. At times, many of these decisions are not made until the very end of a legislative session, which usually falls in late spring.

“Once the governor recommends a budget, the legislature sends it to their budgetary committees,” Madden said. “These committees consider the requests, hold hearings and the university presidents usually give speeches before it can pass the appropriations committees.”

Once the budget passes both houses, it’s sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Madden said that while the exact amount is unknown, the money could be used for a variety of things.

“We could use this money to offset increases,” he said. “Inflation is modest but continual.”

Madden cited the ever-present tuition increases and using this money to keep tuition as low as possible. However, he realizes that all of this is still purely speculative.

“Until we know what we’ll get, it’s hard to say what it could be used for.”