Reynolds criticizes tuition hikes

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor

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Last week Governor Kim Reynolds criticized plans to increase tuition at Iowa’s three public universities. “That is too much,” said Reynolds, according to the Des Moines Register. “There is no way Iowa families can afford a 7 percent increase over five years.”

Reynolds did not comment on an alternative plan or commit to increase state-funding, instead urging the Iowa Board of Regents to, “take a look at what’s manageable and keep in the forefront doing everything we can do to keep higher education costs, postsecondary costs down.”

Reynolds’ comments came in response to the release of plans by UNI, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State University to sharply raise tuition over the next several years in order to compensate for the large cuts in state funding handed down earlier this year.

UNI in-state undergraduates will be paying $7,456 in tuition this academic year, compared to 2016’s rate of $7,098. Tuition has increased 35% since the 2008 academic year, when an in-state undergrad at UNI paid $5,524 in tuition for the year.

The Gazette recently reported on President Mark Nook’s plan, which is designed to minimize the burden on student’s shoulders. However, Nook’s plan relies on additional state funding, which seems far from certain.

According to Nook’s plan, if UNI were to receive additional state funding, tuition will cost $8,237 by the 2022 academic year, a 10.5% increase from 2017’s rate.

No additional appropriations and no additional cuts would put 2022 tuition at $8,948, a 20% increase from this year’s rate.

Further cuts would put tuition at $9,304, a 25% increase from 2017 rates and a figure Nook described as, “…not a reasonable tuition increase for our students to take on.”

Some Iowa lawmakers are warning that the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon. Walt Rogers, a Cedar Falls Republican, told the The Gazette,

“In their 10 and 20 year budgets, they have to start expecting that revenue from the state is going to be low… If I was running a university, I would start looking at out-of-the-box ways to teach, and online potential.”

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