Last week, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill providing Iowa's Regent universities with $12 million in additional funding.
Unfortunately, $12 million isn’t what the Board of Regents requested. The $15.9 million that the House allotted but the Senate cut down by $3.9 million isn’t what the Board requested either.
The Iowa Board of Regents requested $18 million in additional funding in order to keep tuition costs steady. Without that additional $6 million, students at Iowa State could expect tuition hikes as high as 4.9 percent.
It really is a shame that the Iowa Legislature can’t do better for its college students, especially considering that Gov. Kim Reynolds supported the $18 million in additional funding in her budget proposal.
This move marks the latest in a series by the Iowa legislature that clearly shows their devaluation of the public universities in Iowa.
As stated earlier, it really is a shame that Iowa doesn’t recognize the importance of funding its universities. Forcing institutions to raise their tuitions and further prevent some individuals from advancing their education not only hurts those individuals, but Iowa as well.
The continued indifference toward the Board of Regents’ requests for funding by the Iowa Legislature demonstrates Iowa’s misunderstanding of the importance of education as a way to better itself.
Rather than continue to sit in a stagnant economy that has faced years where it can’t generate the tax revenue Iowa needs, the Iowa Legislature should invest in areas that are guaranteed to grow Iowa’s economy.
What better place to start than the very universities that are going to turn out the workforce of tomorrow?
The Regent universities will find a way to deal with the financial problems that arise from this — just as they always have. Unfortunately, that student that has to drop out because of an additional increase in tuition won’t find a way to deal with it.
That student could go on to develop a new strain of crop that boosts the Iowa farm industry. Or perhaps they would be an engineer who would opt to keep their brilliant idea here in Iowa because of how much they love their home state.
This funding shortfall might not create that student. The next one might not either. But it would be ignorant to say that the Iowa Legislature is playing the lottery in regards to a continued lack of funding.
The Iowa Legislature needs to do better. The state senators and representatives need to recognize that they aren’t helping Iowa by continuing to let it sit stagnant. They have the opportunity to reinvigorate the Iowa economy by investing in the next generation of Iowan.