beardshear hall stock

Beardshear Hall from Central Campus on Sept. 19.

The Iowa Board of Regents may be facing a midyear budget cut of $5.1 million under Gov. Kim Reynolds' recently released recommended fiscal budget

Reynolds' proposal was released Tuesday after her Condition of the State speech, where she touched on education in broader terms but did not directly address the issue of higher education funding.

In a statement in response to the proposed governor's budget, Regents Executive Director Mark Braun said, "Any reduction is challenging, but the board recognizes the current fiscal situation the state is facing."

The proposed fiscal year 2019 budget is subject to change and ultimately up to legislative approval before it can be signed off by Reynolds. However, the universities most likely to be impacted by funding reductions for the 2018 fiscal year include Iowa State and the University of Iowa. 

Talks of budget cuts to 2018 have been in the works for awhile, specifically after the Legislative Services Agency announced in December that Iowa's finances were experiencing an estimated shortfall of $37 million. Reynolds proposed fiscal year 2018 appropiations equates to just $27.1 million in adjustments. 

As for the impact to Iowa State, Ames Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell said Friday she "heard from administrators that there is a proposed $2.5 million in cuts to Iowa State for fiscal year 2018."

"We will work with our institutions to make any required fiscal year 2018 reductions in ways that have as little impact on students as possible," Braun said. 

With the legislative session beginning Monday, work on the fiscal year 2019 budget will soon begin as it goes into effect July 1, 2018.

Recommendations for the fiscal year 2019 also include Reynolds $1.9 million less to Iowa State than what was requested by the Regents.

However, she is recommending an upward of $7.25 million to go toward the regents' enterprise, which results in a net increase of $2.3 million if including this year's proposed cuts. 

"The Board of Regents appreciates Governor Reynolds’ support for higher education and the proposed increase to the regents enterprise for FY19. We will continue to be good stewards of all funding, including appropriated funds," Braun wrote in an emailed statement. 

Higher education funding has been a hot topic in Iowa in recent years with gradual tuition increases and last year's proposed budget by Gov. Terry Branstad proposed that suggested $25.5 million in budget cuts to higher education.

This year, however, Gov. Reynolds' fiscal year 2019 proposal cuts just $4.4 million from the universities in total.

Additionally, lagging state appropriations have prompted recent tuition increases and a fall proposal by Interim President Ben Allen that alluded to a yearly increase of 7 percent for in-state students and 4 percent for out-of-state students, ending in 2022. 

According to the budget report released Tuesday, Reynolds is recommending $2.4 million less than requested by the University of Iowa and matched the request of $93.7 million for the University of Northern Iowa. 

Additionally, Reynolds' recommendation for Iowa State is nearly $4.5 million less than the fiscal year 2017 actuals — which follows last year's trend of decreased higher education funding.

In total, the base state appropriation to Iowa State was cut by 6.25 percent  or $11.5 million last year.

"Education is a priority, and we will continue to back that up with real money," Reynolds said during her Condition of the State address. 

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