roast and ride event

Governor Kim Reynolds speaks during the Roast and Ride fundraiser on June 3 in Boone, Iowa.

Despite a trend of lagging state appropriations to the Iowa Board of Regents in years past, Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended to fully fund the universities’ general operating request of $499 million, in her fiscal budget for FY2020.

In September 2018, the Regents requested $628.4 million from the state legislature for the 2020 fiscal year between the three regent universities, with $499 million dedicated solely for higher education use. 

"We are very pleased with Governor Reynolds’ FY20 budget proposal, which includes fully funding our $7 million request for student financial aid and providing $2 million for key biosciences initiatives," Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement Wednesday. "This is a positive first step in the legislative process, and we will continue to work closely with the Governor and the legislature to demonstrate ISU’s excellent value for our students and for Iowa."

The request, which was $18 million more than the budget approved for the current fiscal year, was matched in full through Gov. Reynolds recommendations, according to her budget report released Tuesday.

"In particular, we are extremely pleased that the Governor has recommended fully funding our universities’ general operating request of $18 million," Mark Braun, executive director of the Iowa Board of Regents, said in a statement. "With this level of funding, our universities can continue to provide the accessible, top-quality education that Iowa students deserve." 

The proposed FY2020 budget is subject to change by the Iowa Legislature before it makes it way back to Gov. Reynolds' desk for approval. Last year, the budget report from Gov. Reynolds recommended a midyear budget cut of $5.1 million, in addition to a recommended reduction in general operating funding of $4.4 million.

In preparation of the budget, the Iowa Board of Regents released a five-year plan in November that would base tuition off three scenarios.

Should the state fully fund the universities' appropriation request, resident undergraduate students will see a 3 percent tuition increase.

Should there be no additional funding, the resident undergraduate tuition will increase by 3 percent, plus the projected Higher Education Price Index, which is currently projected at 2 percent.

If the state partially funds the appropriation request, according the Regents, the resident undergraduate rate will be somewhere within 3 to 5 percent range. 

A first reading of the Regents plan for tuition is scheduled in April, when there will be a clearer picture of the state's plans for funding appropriations. A second and final reading on tuition is scheduled in June. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from President Wendy Wintersteen.

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