Education

Tuition costs go up at University of Iowa, Iowa State

But rates are frozen at the University of Northern Iowa

University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld addresses the Regents tuition task force on the university’s five-year tuition plan at Kollros Auditorium in the Biology Building East in Iowa City, Iowa, on Monday, August 14, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld addresses the Regents tuition task force on the university’s five-year tuition plan at Kollros Auditorium in the Biology Building East in Iowa City, Iowa, on Monday, August 14, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

AMES — Attending the University of Iowa and Iowa State University will be more expensive for students and their families starting this fall, the Iowa Board of Regents decided Thursday after weighing a desire to keep rates affordable with a need to generate enough revenue to support the campuses.

Base tuition rates for in-state undergraduates at the UI and ISU will increase 3.9 percent — from $7,770 to $8,073 a year at the UI and from $7,740 to $8,042 at ISU.

Rates for undergraduates from outside Iowa will increase more at ISU — by nearly 5 percent, or $1,086.

Rates for undergraduates from outside Iowa at the UI will increase 1 percent, or by $300, although the UI’s non-resident undergrad costs still are much higher — $30,036, compared with ISU’s $23,230.

And many students across both campuses will see even bigger increases than those base bumps this fall. The regents, meeting at ISU, approved a range of differential tuition rates for students pursuing costlier degrees, like those in business, health administration, dentistry, agriculture, animal science and engineering.

The board kept all tuition rates at the University of Northern Iowa frozen. That campus, which is more reliant on Iowa students, faces the challenge of having a stagnant pool of Iowa high schoolers while its peer institutions in neighboring states charge lower rates.

UNI’s resident undergraduate rates will remain at $7,665.

The board Thursday also approved fees for the three campuses, projecting the total cost of attendance — including tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses — at $23,188 for a resident undergrad at the UI; $21,939 at ISU; and $21,247 at UNI.

UNI’s tuition and fees currently rank third lowest among its peers.

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“This is a great day for our students and the university,” UNI President Mark Nook said in a statement after the tuition vote. “It’s evident from the board’s approval that they understand our role in educating and investing in Iowa students who then give back to their state.”

UNI was able to hold down tuition after receiving the full $4 million increase in state appropriations it requested — making it the only one of the state’s three public universities to have its full demand met by the Iowa Legislature.

The board had asked lawmakers to increase general fund appropriations for the universities by $18 million — allowing $7 million each for the UI and ISU and $4 million for UNI.

The Legislature instead approved a $12 million increase, and the board split it evenly — leaving ISU and the UI each $3 million short of their request.

That gap compelled the 3.9 percent tuition increase for resident undergrads at those schools.

UI President Bruce Harreld said in a statement after the vote his administration will continue to devote resources to student success.

“We are committed to increasing our first-year retention rates and improving the four-year graduation rate to minimize student debt,” he said. “It’s important to remember that a student’s investment in their collegiate education will be the second-largest investment in their life and will produce the greatest return on investment through lifetime earnings.”

No students signed up to speak about tuition or any other topic during the regents meeting Thursday. The regular academic year ended last month. Student leaders did speak at the board’s first consideration of tuition rates last month — voicing frustration with declining state legislative support. forcing increases for students.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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