ISU student body president comments on proposed tuition increases


Caitlin Yamada/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State tuition is proposed to rise 4.25 percent.  

By Katherine Kealey, [email protected], story via Iowa Capital Dispatch 

The Iowa Board of Regents proposed a 4.25 percent tuition increase for all three state universities for the coming school year, following an unexpected 1.1 percent increase in funding from the Iowa Legislature. 

With only an extra $5.5 million added to their budget, the tuition increase could have been as high as 5.6 percent. The proposed tuition increase is projected to generate $35 million in incremental revenue for fiscal year 2023, just over 2 percent of the current operating budget.

Student Government President Jacob Ludwig said Iowa State University and the other Iowa institutions benefit from having cheaper tuition in comparison to surrounding states and the less state funding the universities receive the harder it will be to maintain that status.

“We are really going to have to be aware of that reality and it is something that we are going to have to take to legislators in years going forward,” Ludwig said. “We are going to have to do a better job of communicating not only that it is important to fund public education, that is generally a public good, but also the value we bring to Iowa, what is the investment that the state legislature is making.”

In-state undergraduate students at the University of Iowa will pay an additional $355 a semester, while Iowa State University students will see a $354 increase and the University of Northern Iowa’s tuition will increase by $331. The Iowa Board of Regents also increased tuition for Iowa public universities in 2021.

Originally the Iowa House passed an education budget with no increased funding for the three universities, instead proposing a $12 million scholarship aimed at students pursuing high-demand jobs and combating the teacher shortage which ultimately failed. 

The increase comes after years of cuts and status-quo funding. In 2021 the state took $7 million from the Regents’ budget and left funding flat for fiscal year 2022. This year, the Regents requested an additional $15 million from the state.

Base tuition for in-state graduate and professional students will also go up by 4.25 percent. Increases for student fees vary based on university. The only differing line item is for nonresidents attending the University of Iowa. Tuition for out-of-state undergraduates at the University of Iowa will go up by 1.17 percent while nonresident graduate students’ tuition will increase by 1.51 percent. Specific graduate programs at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University will also see increases.

Iowa State University students will pay for the highest increase in student fees, dealing out an additional $145 to cover mental health services, modernization of technology and public transportation. Utilization of Thielen Student Health Center has increased 24 percent and the increase will allow additional funds for accessible health care. 

The Rec Services requested an additional $30 a year from student fees after almost 10 years without an increase. To cover subscription costs for Grammarly and other software system updates, Iowa State’s Technology Services requested an additional $30 per semester. 

Often Ludwig hears students want to know more about where their student fee dollars are going. 

“There are all these programs and services that come with the fee committee and they tell us they are running these wonderful programs and they are having a positive impact on the community,” Ludwig said. “I think we talk a lot about the fact that there are so many services that students don’t know about and I think an easy way to bridge the gap of not only being transparent but also making students aware of what’s available to them on campus is by being more transparent with fees.”

Meanwhile, student fees at the University of Northern Iowa will go up $27 and the University of Iowa’s will increase by $56. Generally, student fees pay for additional student services such as healthcare, recreation services and technology.

All of the increases to come through the Student Fee Committee were to maintain services due to rising costs. 

“If we are going to increase fees it is only going to ever be to keep things level because I don’t think right now students are clamoring for a lot of new services,” Ludwig said. “But obviously it really hurts when you lose big things especially for like counselors over at health services. That is not really an area that we can afford to cut back on funding.”

As inflation continues and the demand to retain faculty and staff in a national market grows, the increase in tuition looks to offset costs. All three universities are also in need of maintenance for academic facilities. The 4.25 percent increase will also support student financial aid programs. The Iowa Board of Regents will meet virtually on Monday for the first reading of the proposal and allow for comments from the university student body presidents of each school.

“I think the more we work together and the more that we lift up student voices and the impact that Iowa State students have on the state of Iowa, the more sense it makes to legislators to invest in our Regent institutions,” Ludwig said.


Editor’s note: This article was originally published by the Iowa Capital Dispatch. The headline and story were updated to include ISU Student Body President’s response. The original article can be found here.