WIUM Tristates Public Radio

With Potential Tuition Hikes Looming, Regents Seek Increase for Student Financial Aid

Nov 30, 2017
Originally published on November 28, 2017 10:28 pm

The presidents of Iowa’s Regents universities today made presentations to Gov. Kim Reynolds and her budget advisors, requesting minimal increases in funding for next year. 

Last year, university budgets were cut by $30 million.

Now the universities are asking for a mostly status quo budget for next year, except for new money to increase financial aid for students and for new capital projects on the campuses.   

New ISU president Wendy Wintersteen, now in her second week in office, was making her first budget appeal.          

She told the governor she’s concerned about retaining good faculty at Iowa State.

“This past year we made the hard decision essentially to not provide salary increases to our faculty and staff except for a few minor exceptions,” Wintersteen said.   “We know that we are competing every day for good faculty and staff where they can go to a competing institution and have a better opportunity in terms of their salary.”  

ISU enrollment has increased substantially in recent years.   Wintersteen briefed the governor on the need to improve student to faculty ratio and the need for more lecture space  for growing enrollment  in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM.

The universities are requesting $12 million in new funding next year specifically for increasing financial aid for students.   

Their building requests include a veterinary diagnostic lab at ISU, library modernization at the University of Iowa, and an expanded Industrial Technology Center at UNI.

“We are entering another tough budget year,” Reynolds said after hearing from each university president.   “But we are committed to working with you and continuing to provide the students you serve with a great education.”

She added funding might not come in the “timeline you want.”

Leaders at ISU and UI have proposed 7 percent tuition increases in each of the next 5 years if state appropriations fall short.

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