On Thursday, the Iowa Board of Regents met for the first reading of the proposed tuition and fees increase for the 2021-22 academic year at each of the three major Iowa public universities. Student Government leaders from each university were present to comment on the new tuition proposals.
Both Iowa State and the University of Iowa have a proposed increase in tuition of 3.5 percent, while the University of Northern Iowa has a proposed 1.5 percent increase. Iowa State would see an increase of $282, making the new annual tuition rate for resident students $8,324 instead of the current $8,042.
According to Angie Hunt, Iowa State’s news service communications specialist, university leaders follow a five-year tuition model, which the Board of Regents approved in 2019, when making a recommendation on tuition. This model is linked to state appropriations and establishes an annual tuition increase for resident undergraduates.
The Board first introduced Iowa State’s Student Government President Julia Campbell to speak, and she spoke on behalf of the student body to make a point that affordable college costs are a must in order to ensure students from all walks of life are able to pursue higher education.
“Affordable and accessible higher education in Iowa has tangible benefits to our communities, businesses and economy,” Campbell said. “Continued investment in public education has resulted in lower unemployment rates, a skilled workforce, more tax revenue and fewer demands placed on government-sponsored programs.”
Campbell pointed out the pandemic has caused many of Iowa’s college students financial distress and that the Board needs to do everything in its ability to keep the tuition hike at a minimum.
“In the wake of the pandemic, we want to have as minimally disruptive an impact on students as possible, many of whom are struggling financially,” Campbell said.
Campbell also recognized that given the current fiscal constraints, there isn’t a realistic way to maintain the current quality of education at Iowa State without either cutting campus services or increasing tuition rates.
Regarding the current proposed increase for tuition rates, Campbell stressed that the Student Government is asking for the increase to be as small as possible while still allowing the university to remain a competitive and exceptional institution.
In a statement on behalf of Iowa State, the university is in support of the tuition increase.
“Iowa State University is supportive of the Regents’ proposed increase for tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year. The increase will help us maintain a high-quality student experience while remaining a significant value for the investment. Those with Iowa State degrees continue to fill high demand — our latest overall placement rate is 95 percent for recent graduates. If approved, our undergraduate tuition and fees will keep us at or near the bottom of similar costs compared to our peer universities,” the university statement said.
No action was required at this first hearing, and the vote for the proposed tuition increases will take place July 28. It will be virtually accessible to anyone who would like to attend.