Board of Regents to discuss possible tuition increases at public Iowa universities

Local News

AMES – A state budget announcement Thursday left the Board of Regents up in arms over state college funding.

The Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved just a little more than $1 billion for higher education in Iowa. That includes $3 million in new money for community colleges and $6.3 million for the regents universities.

It’s less than what was proposed, so the Board of Regents says that’ll mean likely tuition increases at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

But the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pat Grassley, says it’s also on the Board of Regents to make sure the universities are living within their means.

“They have done a study to try to become more efficient and find efficiencies on each of the regent universities. I think that is something that the regents take upon themselves to use to also lower the cost of higher education. You know, this isn’t just – the state has it’s piece that we need to be involved but the regents need to lead on that effort.,” Rep. Grassley said.

The Education Subcommittee gave $2.78 million for the University of Northern Iowa, $2.21 million for Iowa State University and $1.3 million for the University of Iowa.
 
The possibility of tuition increases has students across the state worried about how they’ll pay for college. And it’s something their universities are also starting to think about.
 
Outrageous. Stressful. Insane.
 
Those are only some of the words that come to mind for some Iowa State Unviersity students when they think about the high price of college.
 
ISU junior Alex Hunt says it’s shocking how much more expensive it is now, compared to the generation before him.
 
“I talk with my dad and he says he could pay for college in one summer of working at a grocery store,” Hunt said. “Obviously, that’s not the case anymore.”
 
And now, students who are already burdened by tuition prices could be facing even more stress.
 
The state legislature approved far less money for higher education than the Board of Regents requested, and that means the regents need to get those funds from somewhere else.
 
“They will look at what tuition levels need to be,” said Josh Lehman, Senior Communications Director for the Board of Regents.
 
But Lehman says it’s too early to say a tuition hike is a done deal.
 
“No decisions have been made. The proposal has just come down, so those discussions will have to take place amongst the board,” Lehman said.
 
And although there’s no official decision out yet, some university financial aid offices – like the one at Iowa State University – are already thinking about what they can do to help their students.
 
“We’ll make a decision as to whether there would be a need for us to revise all the awards that are currently out for our students,” said Roberta Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid at Iowa State University. “So, we’ll make that decision once we hear from the Board of Regents.”
 
The ISU financial aid office says it’s too early right now to know what changes they’ll make – if any – to their student aid packatges. And that’s because they’re waiting to hear what the Board of Regents officially decides to do with the tuition prices.

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