Your adventure at Iowa State could be cut short, and it may not be available for many students much longer. With a large tuition hike on the horizon and surprise tuition increases over the past few years, so many of us are wondering whether we can finish our education. Some future Cyclones wonder if they can even start it.
As a member of Student Government, I’ve heard concerns from countless students about their future here and whether they’ll be able to afford to continue their education at Iowa State. I share their worries when I look at my own financial situation. The source of all this stress, fear and financial hardship comes from a single place: 1007 E. Grand Avenue in Des Moines, better known as the Iowa State Capitol.
One party controls all of our state government, and they’re failing education in Iowa. They’re failing the people of Iowa, our economy and our future. As students, we’re told to cherish school from kindergarten to high school graduation, and then we’re encouraged to continue our education in college. Yet the state government refuses to fund it adequately or in a timely manner.
For K-12 education, schools throughout the state are anticipating 0 percent allowable growth for the upcoming year, only the second time in Iowa’s history that would happen. Additionally, school districts are having to finalize budgets without knowing the funding they’re getting for next year due to state legislators breaking a law that they set themselves.
Higher education is suffering just as much as K-12, and the legislature’s mismanagement is falling on the backs of hardworking students. Despite having thousands of students and tuition costing thousands of dollars more, Iowa State receives less money from the state government now in actual dollars than we have at any time since 1998.
On top of that, the state government cut over $11 million from our university’s budget last year during the middle of the school year, forcing administration to delay things they’d already allocated funds for. We could face even more mid-year budget cuts when the legislative session starts again on Jan. 8, and we cannot afford that.
Even with all this outrageousness, I have good news: there’s something you can do about it. This year is an election year, and you have more power than you know. It’s up to us – all of us – to band together and fight for better education funding in Iowa. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who this problem doesn’t personally affect, it affects your friends, classmates and the place you call home for this part of your life.
Email, call or visit the legislators who represent you in Ames and in your hometown. Cyclones come from every corner of this state, country and world, and we are over 36,000 strong! Tell your friends and family to do the same, and we'll grow even larger. If our elected officials ignore our voices once again, then it’s our duty to vote them out in November and replace them with people who care about us and our education. Every single voice counts in this fight, and we need you to join it.