Iowa Board of Regents proposes tuition hikes for public universities

By: - June 21, 2021 4:42 pm

Lake LaVerne is on the campus of Iowa State University. (Photo by {Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Students at Iowa’s public universities would see higher tuition and fee rates for the upcoming school year under a new proposal by the Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents, governing body for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, will meet Thursday to hold a first reading of a tuition hike proposal. Under the plan, resident undergraduates at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University would see a 3.5% increase in tuition for the 2021-2022 school year. In-state undergraduates at the University of Northern Iowa would have a 1.5% increase. 

The tuition hike comes after two tumultuous years for the Regents universities. The state Legislature voted in June 2020 to cut the Regents budget by $8 million for fiscal year 2021, just weeks after the Board of Regents voted to freeze tuition and fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year, the Board of Regents requested an $18 million funding increase and a restoration of the $8 million cut. Instead, lawmakers voted to give the universities no additional funding for fiscal year 2022.

Students in different programs would see various fee and tuition increases. More expensive graduate programs, including the University of Iowa dentistry program and Iowa State’s veterinary school, would cost several thousand dollars more.

Student leaders at the Regents institutions told the Iowa Capital Dispatch in May they were disappointed state lawmakers chose not to increase funding for the upcoming year.

“As someone who grew up in Iowa and wants to maybe have children who I want to go to college, I want to live somewhere where they value education,” said Regan Smock, University of Iowa undergraduate student president. “The lack of funding definitely communicates that it’s not an important part of our state.”

The Board of Regents will vote on the tuition hike on July 28, less than a month before the fall semester begins.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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