Iowa Regents tuition increase will max at 4 percent


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Clouds cover the sun over the Campanile during the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.

Danielle Gehr

Amid state budget cuts and a pushed tuition decision date, the Board of Regents plans to max the tuition increase at 4 percent, the Gazette reported.

Josh Lehman confirmed via email that the regent President Michael Richards told the House Appropriation Committee  “the resident undergraduate rates the board has been looking at are rates under 4 percent.”

Though, tuition increases won’t be discussed until the first reading in April and final approval in June. 

The regents were originally scheduled to make a tuition decision in October, but has since been pushed due to uncertainty over state funding due to looming midyear cuts. 

The Senate’s first version of the appropriations bill, proposed three weeks ago, would have cut funding to Iowa regent universities by a combined $19.2 million including a $6.9 million cut from Iowa State.

Adjustments from the Senate later lowered this number to $14.2 million and allowed the Board of Regents to decide which of the three regent universities would see the brunt of these cuts.

“With the last two years seeing $11.5 million in cuts to Iowa State’s budget, these budget changes will cut to the bone,” Provost Jonathan Wickert told the Faculty Senate Feb. 13. “The possible implications of these cuts for Iowa State include faculty furloughs, cancelled classes and discontinued student aid.”

Lehman, regents communications director, said via email to the Daily last week that because of the “considerable uncertainty about state appropriations,” both in terms of possible midyear cuts and lagging funds for fiscal year 2019, “the board does not yet have enough information to be able to set tuition rates at the February meeting.”

Iowa State responded to the original proposed $6.9 million cuts to their current fiscal year through an email sent out to the students, faculty and staff. 

The email points out these proposed cuts in state appropriations come after the university withstood recent cuts totaling $11.5 million. 

“The midyear cuts proposed by the Senate would be devastating and result in immediate and long-lasting impacts both on campus and to Iowans in all 99 counties,” the email from Iowa State read.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach said, after the original proposed cuts he doesn’t know how the universities will be able to make up for the cuts to the current fiscal year after the semester already started. The options to increase tuition and cut classes passed after the first day of classes.

He called the proposed cuts disastrous and said nearly half of the total $52 million cuts fall on higher education when accounting for the cuts to Iowa community colleges. 

“This has an impact. I mean, we can talk about the numbers, but what you’re talking about is reduced services to students, what you’re talking about is probably a significant tuition increase next year because the university runs in the red this year or has to draw down reserves will have to make that up,” Quirmbach said.