Regents approve 3.75 percent tuition increase for state universities

Approval came on 7-1 vote; regent Harkin cast lone opposing vote

The state Board of Regents today approved by a 7-1 vote a 3.75 percent tuition increase for next year.

The base tuition increase is for in-state undergraduates at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Regent Ruth Harkin, of Cumming, was the lone "no" vote against the increase; board President Craig Lang was absent from the meeting.

Harkin said she couldn't support the increase because Iowan's incomes haven't kept up with inflation.

"I think this is a tough time for them to have to incur further expense if they have students at the universities," Harkin said. "I just hope that next year we'll be able to work harder to find better solutions."

Board President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter said the board worked hard to keep the tuition increase at the expected rate of inflation for next year, in light of the state budget cuts the universities have faced in the past several years.

"Also, clearly, it's extremely important that our appropriations request to the Legislature be approved for us to be able to accomplish this mission and continue to find ways in the longer term the universities can continue to save money and deliver high-quality and accessible education going forward," he said.

Regent Bob Downer of Iowa City said focusing on reducing student debt should be a priority of discussion in the 2012 Legislative session and going forward. Student debt levels significantly impact the ability of students to take jobs in Iowa, Downer said.

The tuition increase garnered generally supportive comments from student leaders at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa and from several regents at the board’s October meeting, when the proposal was first discussed. Student leaders and regents also said the Legislature needs to step up and support higher education at the requested funding levels.

Under the 2012-13 tuition plan, in-state undergraduates at the UI, ISU and UNI will pay 3.75 percent more in base tuition, or about $240 more. The increase will result in base tuition of $6,678 at the UI and $6,648 at ISU and UNI. Mandatory fees also will increase at the UI and UNI, by 3.75 percent and 4.78 percent, respectively.

Out-of-state undergraduates will pay 4.75 percent more in base tuition at the UI, 2.63 percent more at ISU and 3.75 percent more at UNI.

Based on the Higher Education Price Index, higher education inflation is expected to be between 2.6 percent and 4.2 percent next year.

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