Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to Board of Regents on tuition and funding


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

Kim Reynolds celebrates being the first elected female governor on Nov. 6, 2018. Mike Naig, Republican candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Kim Reynolds, Republican candidate for Iowa governor hosted an “Iowa GOP Victory Party” on Nov. 6 at the Hilton in downtown Des Moines.

Jacob Smith

Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke to the Iowa Board of Regents Tuesday, during which she thanked the Board for finding innovative ways to address rising tuition and education costs.

Reynolds sent a letter to President Michael Richards on Aug. 17, 2018, discussing the need for predictability in the cost of college for Iowa families.

“I highly value Iowa’s public universities and am a proud graduate of one of them,” Reynolds said in the letter. “I know you feel the same way, and I know the Board of Regents has been working hard to improve the quality of Iowa’s universities while maintaining affordability.”

A problem Reynolds outlined is the rising tuition levels throughout the state.

“But I think we can and should do more,” Reynolds said in the letter. “We need to create predictability for Iowa families. And we need to keep the cost of higher education at a level that is affordable for those same families while also making sure our universities continue to be world class.”

Maintaining robust funding while exploring ways to more effectively use the resources that already exist on college campuses is the way to address the problem, Reynolds said.

Richards responded to Reynolds’ letter, later noting the common goal they have.

“You and I share a common goal of keeping Iowa’s public universities the top-notch institutions that they are,” Richards said in the letter. “Keeping our public universities accessible and affordable will continue to be the Board’s top priority. Creating predictability in tuition is a key and necessary aspect of this. As you mentioned, tuition and fees at our universities are already lower than their peers’, but we should always strive to improve.”

Speaking to the Board over a year later, Reynolds said it is doing a good job.

“I am pleased to be with you today for what I think will be a historic day for higher education in Iowa,” Reynolds said. “As you all know, the higher education landscape in the United States and around the world is changing. Advances in technology and communication have increased dramatically and increased opportunities for students as well as colleges and universities. Competition for both Students and Faculty has never been more intense.”

Recently, The Board unanimously voted in favor of raising tuition and fees by 3.9 percent for resident students and by 4.9 percent for nonresident students at Iowa State for the 2019-20 school year.

This round of hikes comes after increases last year at Iowa State of 3.8 percent for resident students at 4 percent for nonresident students, and tuition hikes the year before, as well.

“And as our higher education institutions are facing more pressures to control cost and tuition than ever before, all of that is happening at the same time as taxpayers, legislatures and, yes, governors continue to expect highly ranked, top-flight public universities,” Reynolds said.

During the Board’s November meeting, Chris Simmons, junior in political science, spoke to the Board about issues on campus.

“My name is Chris Simmons, and I am a proud and pissed off student from Iowa State,” Simmons said. “Now, if I was a Board of Regents member I might be wondering, ‘What are all these students doing in my meeting? I make it pretty hard to come here.’ We’re here because we are sick and tired of going to universities that don’t seem to give a damn about their students.”

Simmons used his time to bring up racial issues and tuition matters.

“We’re sick and tired of universities that allow white supremacists to organize on their campus without consequence,” Simmons said. “I’m sick and damn tired of tuition hikes that are designed to keep working-class students like me out.”