Editorial: Iowa Legislature should allocate more funding to state universities


The Iowa Capitol In Des Moines

Editorial Board

No matter what major a student comes to college for, every student will take with them an underlying lesson: nothing rivals the power of the bottom line.

Although monetary concerns are prevalent in high school, they become even more apparent when living on your own for the first time your freshman year of college. This is especially the case for any student attending one of Iowa’s public universities. Our state’s graduates enter the post-grad world with an average of $29,000 in student debt, which is slightly higher than the national average.

This staggering number reminds students what they will be facing after they graduate. And once again, there is a possibility of raising tuition at Iowa’s public universities if the Iowa Legislature does not approve the additional money that was requested this year.

The Board of Regents asked the Iowa Legislature in September 2015 for a $20.3 million increase to distribute among the three state schools. However, Gov. Terry Branstad only increased his allotment by $7,934,042. To put that in perspective, Iowa State requested an $8,190,000 increase for our university in order to keep costs down and help prevent students from drowning in debt.

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter said Tuesday that they would continue to negotiate for more funds from the legislature, but if the request is denied, current and future students will be looking at more financial strain.

The irony in all of this is that Iowa’s education system encourages students to seek a higher education, but our government is making it increasingly more difficult to do so from a financial perspective. In order for Iowa to reap the benefits of having businessmen and businesswomen, politicians, scientists and other professionals receive a quality higher education, those currently holding power must not put more debt in the way.

There is true value in going to college and doing the work to receive a degree. The legislature should see that value in what a degree will allow a person to do, not in how much money it will cost.

The way its funding is planned out and broken up is strategic, as it should be. But our government should see that going to college is one of the most important things a person can do and should allocate more funds to the state universities. Graduates would then be able to see the true value in what they worked for instead of just the bottom line of what it costs them to get a diploma.