Iowa Ideas 2018
September 20 - 21 | Cedar Rapids

Iowa Ideas is a nonpartisan, statewide learning experience designed to explore the key questions and big ideas that will shape the future of Iowa.

Created by The Gazette, Iowa Ideas consists of in-depth, solutions-focused journalism and events. Engaged citizens, community advocates and industry leaders are invited to join us.

Stay Up-To-Date

Sign up for any combination of updates below.

Get general updates on the Iowa Ideas project and track-specific newsletters and opportunities to connect.

Your Email *
General Updates
Agriculture
Education
Energy & Environment
Workforce
Health Care
Human & Social Services
Policy
Regional Development
Terms: I am over 13 years old and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Thank you for signing up for our newsletters. You should be receiving a confirmation email shortly.

Iowa Regent doesn't see tuition increasing 7 percent

State senator: 'We have to keep out state universities affordable'

    Larry McKibben of Marshalltown, a member of the Iowa Board of Regents, speaks Friday about higher education funding with Jacob Simpson (right), president of the University of Iowa Student Government. The two were members of a panel at the Iowa Ideas conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Cedar Rapids. McKibben said he doesn’t think regents will approve the 7 percent tuition increase sought by the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
    Higher Education
    Sep 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    CEDAR RAPIDS — Students attending Iowa’s public universities likely will see tuition increases, but they won’t be the annualized 7 percent over five years that two of the institutions are seeking, according to the Iowa regent who chaired a tuition task force over the summer.

    Larry McKibben of Marshalltown, a former state senator, told those at The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas conference that Iowa’s public universities need a combination of higher tuition, increased state funding and savings from efficiencies to maintain quality and top faculty at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

    “Will it be 7 percent? The answer is no,” McKibben said. “We certainly don’t want that to happen, and we don’t want to ask for that. It’s way too soon to say what it will be.”

    The regents, a nine-member volunteer board, must first approve its request for state funding for the next budget year — which it will tackle in a special meeting next week — before considering tuition rates for the fall of 2018. The board is scheduled to consider tuition rates in October, with a final vote in December.

    The Board of Regents Office last week released its proposed appropriations request, which includes a $12 million increase that would be earmarked for resident undergraduate student financial aid to cushion a tuition hike.

    The action comes after the GOP-run Legislature during the last legislative session cut the institutions’ base appropriations by more than $30 million.

    UI and ISU leaders have requested a 7 percent annual hike for resident undergraduates, and UNI has suggested a 5 percent annualized increase, which some argue would make more financial aid imperative for the schools to accomplish their missions of being accessible and diverse.

    At Friday’s conference, UI student body president Jacob Simpson said he hoped any boost in tuition could be held in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent.

    After the meeting, McKibben said he would have preferred the student leader had set his sights a little lower, like in the 2 percent to 4 percent range, but higher tuition at some levels appears inevitable.

    “We can’t get the numbers together and continue the high level of education and faculty and staff that they want if we don’t,” McKibben said. “There is going to be some increase in tuition. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. I would hope 5 (percent) is on the high end.”

    Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, who serves on legislative education committees, said Friday the cuts in state aid to Iowa’s three regent universities have effectively been a “tuition tax increase” on Iowa students and their parents.

    “For the sake of Iowa’s future, we have to keep our state universities affordable to all without compromising the quality of their education. That will take money,” said Quirmbach, who pointed to nearly $332 million in tax credits the state divvies up to attract businesses and high-quality jobs as a possible source of future funding for higher education.

    Tom Mortenson, a Pell researcher who has studied trends in funding for higher education, said Iowa’s support for its public colleges is about the same as it was decades ago and is on a downward arc. He said higher education is losing the competition for taxpayer dollars to health care, corrections and unfunded pensions.

    “Iowa has become a national leader in the defunding of higher education,” said Mortensen, noting Iowa is tied with four other states for the worst financial support for colleges. He said the shift began in 2000 when then-Gov. Tom Vilsack took money from higher education to boost funding for K-12 teachers’ salaries.

    “We’re shifting the cost of higher education from taxpayers back onto students,” he said. “And from my perspective as someone who studies higher educational opportunity and especially college affordability for students from low-income family backgrounds, this is a disastrous set of choices.”

    l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

    Most Recent Iowa Ideas Stories

    Iowa Ideas 2018 conference tickets now on sale

    Sept. 20-21, 2018: Thursday morning through midday Friday Pricing and registration... READ MORE

    Outsourcing at ACT leads to 23 job cuts

    ACT will eliminate 23 jobs in Iowa City as part of an outsourcing effort the company first announced two years ago.... READ MORE

    Keeping time: Tradition of big band and polka dances surviving, but smaller

    A hundred years ago, Bill Ackerman's ancestors farmed the land surrounding his present-day home, which they also built.... READ MORE

    Stay Up-To-Date

    Sign up for any combination of updates below.

    Get general updates on the Iowa Ideas project and track-specific newsletters and opportunities to connect.

    Your Email *
    General Updates
    Agriculture
    Education
    Energy & Environment
    Future of Work
    Health Care
    Human & Social Services
    Policy
    Regional Development
    Terms: I am over 13 years old and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy