Legislature restores $8.7 million of the $11 million cut from Board of Regents


The State Capitol Building’s golden dome makes it easy to spot when nearing Iowa’s largest city. 

Devyn Leeson

The Iowa Legislature approved a budget that would restore $8.3 million to the Board of Regents, $2.7 million less than what was cut earlier this year.

As a result of lower than expected state revenues, the Legislature had to pass a budget cut to regent universities in the middle of the fiscal year amounting to $11 million.

This number was larger than what Gov. Kim Reynolds had originally proposed, but significantly lower than what had been proposed in the Senate and House.

The bill, SF 2415, passed the House 54-35 on Thursday, May 3, and would allocate $912.6 million to the general fund for the the Board of Regents, Department for the Blind, the College Student Aid Commission and the Department of Education.

The bill did not allocate funds to K-12 education as that was a part of a budget bill passed earlier in the year.

Cuts to the Board of Regents typically get split amongst the three regent universities in Iowa including Iowa State, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa, but to lower the impact on state residents, this years cuts got split amongst the two that harbor the most out of state students: Iowa State and the University of Iowa.

These cuts earlier in the year are what prompted reaction from Iowa State to raise next year’s tuition by 3.8 percent.

Rep. Cecil Dolechkec, R-Mount Ayr, said that he would have liked to see a complete restoration of the funds to the Board of Regents but said he still believes that Iowa students get a “bargain” at Iowa’s public universities.

Iowa State Provost Jonathan Wickert said in a faculty Senate meeting earlier this year that the University and Board of Regents have made efficiencies wherever possible, but continued cuts will have “draconian” results.

“We don’t know what the 2019 budget will look like for Iowa State,” said Wickert. “We will just have to wait and see if the legislature makes its mid-year cut permanent.”

Iowa State’s mid year cut was $5.4 million this year and Iowa State was able to absorb a more than two thirds internally. This means funding was cut in mostly non-academic areas.

With the current FY19 budget for the Board of Regents, Iowa State would likely be able to absorb the entirety of the cut now that most of the funding has been restored.