$2.5 million in cuts may be made to Iowa State’s budget this year


Iowa State Daily

The Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa.

Danielle Gehr

Iowa State could face an additional $2.5 million in budget cuts this fiscal year, said Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, on Friday.

Wessel-Kroeschell said she heard from administrators that there is a proposed $2.5 million in cuts to Iowa State for fiscal year 2018.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announces her official budget Tuesday in the Condition of the State speech and it will not be known until then if the cuts will be made.

Josh Lehman, senior communications director for the Iowa Board of Regents, said he could not verify these claims until the governor comes out with her official budget.

“I’m concerned about programming,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “I’m concerned about class sizes, being able to retain quality faculty and staff. I certainly am concerned about what the regents will propose officially in terms of tuition increases.”

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, said he could not verify the proposed cut, but added that he would not be surprised.

“It’s possible that Iowa State could face additional midyear budget cuts,” Quirmbach said. “It would not surprise me to see them cut the university further.”

Republicans have mismanaged the budget and too much money has been given to corporations in an effort to create jobs, he said.

“I’m glad to have business come here and create jobs,” Quirmbach said. “We’re subsidizing Google, for example, at the rate of a million dollars a job. I’m glad to have the jobs, but at a million dollars each, I think we’re overpaying.”

The Board of Regents delayed making a decision on tuition, which typically takes place in October. A final decision will not be made until June, although tuition will be discussed at the regents’ February meeting.

At the August regents’ meeting, Benjamin Allen, interim president of Iowa State at the time, proposed a yearly increases of 7 percent for in-state and 4 percent for out-of-state students, which would end in 2022.

By the end of the five years, the yearly increases would accumulate to $3,081 for in-state undergraduate students and $4,613 for out-of-state undergraduate students.

The university’s State Relations Officer Kristin Failor told the Student Government the proposed tuition increases were not feasible. Wessel-Kroeschell also called it an extreme proposal. Quirmbach said he disagrees with the tuition increase, but understands the university must make up for the budget cuts.

“The university has to bring in additional funds to make up for the budget cuts and to keep the lights on and pay competitive salaries and the whole deal. We have an expanding student body,” Quirmbach said. “I don’t think we’ve kept up with the capacity needs.”

Rep. Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, said she was unsure where Iowa State would make up for the additional $2.5 million in cuts, calling the university a “very lean-run institution.”

“When you start to make those kinds of cuts, you’re going to be cutting into the bone of educational opportunities for what they offer, and that’s my greatest concern,” Heddens said. “I am very concerned about it.”