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Regent calls cuts to higher education funding an ‘attack on our three public universities’

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Photo by Adam Burke

The slashing of state financial support for Iowa’s public universities over the last two years is “the worst state government public attack on our three public universities” Larry McKibben has seen during his five years on the Iowa Board of Regents, McKibben said on Thursday.

The lack of adequate state funding for higher education is “taking three great universities downhill,” McKibben warned. He said the presidents of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa had explained “we are losing great faculty and staff, and researchers at our universities are being picked off by states all over the nation.”

McKibben’s remarks came at Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents, during which board members voted unanimously to raise tuition at all three state universities. Tuition for in-state undergraduates at UI and ISU will increase by $284 starting in the fall. Out-of-state undergraduates at UI will pay $606 more in tuition, and those students will pay $852 at ISU. At UNI, tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students will increase by $209.

Mandatory fees for students will also increase at all three universities: $18 at UI, $30 at UNI and $66.50 at ISU.

McKibben, a former Republican state Senator from Marshalltown who was appointed to the Board of Regents by Gov. Terry Branstand, warned that the state’s continued failure to properly fund universities will damage Iowa’s economy, not just because the universities were losing talented staff, but also because tuition increases and the lack of funds for scholarships are making the three universities increasing unaffordable for too many students.

“I’m going to vote for this and I’m going to support it, but I think that one of the things I’m trying to say to the state of Iowa and the citizens of the state of Iowa is we have to do better in the support of these universities,” McKibben said.


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