Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Midyear tuition increase unlikely

Board leader not in favor even if state cuts more
By Vanessa Miller, The Gazette | Aug 10, 2017

AMES — Even if lawmakers reconvene this fall to deal with worsening budget projections and make more cuts to state departments, Board of Regents President Mike Richards said Wednesday he’s not inclined to consider midyear tuition hikes.

“Our goal, and my personal goal, is to have one tuition adjustment increase this year,” he said. “I don’t intend to go back several times.”

Regents agreed in June to increase tuition rates at their three public universities 3 percent above the 2 percent hike they had already approved for this fall.

That total rate hike for resident undergraduate students — in addition to steeper increases for some non-resident and graduate students — will make up for more than $30 million in cuts to the state’s base appropriations approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

Lawmakers say they were forced to cut or transfer $118 million and pull $131 million from reserves after a projected revenue shortfall for the fiscal 2017 budget. The regents took the biggest dollar amount hit.

Last month, the Legislative Services Agency projected yet another potential shortfall of up to $104 million from the already-downgraded 2017 expectations, increasing chances lawmakers will be called back for a special session when the books close on that budget in September.

The regents are in the midst of a discussion around tuition setting in hopes of avoiding last-minute rate hikes that make planning difficult for students and families.

The three universities have prepared five-year tuition models, which the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University pitched this week. The University of Iowa makes its presentation Monday.

Richards seemed to agree the more stability the better — regardless of what happens at the state level.

“I just personally think that we — and I’ve told the rest of the board — that I think we should do one and then have to live with it,” Richards said.

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