Iowa Board of Regents considers tuition hike for state universities

In-state undergraduates could see college costs rise as much as $355 per semester.

By: - June 15, 2022 3:53 pm

State university students could see more than $300 per semester in tuition increases next year. (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

The Iowa Board of Regents proposed a 4.25% tuition increase for all three state universities for the coming school year, following an unexpectedly low 1.1% increase in funding from the Iowa Legislature. 

The board meets Monday to consider the tuition change.

With only an extra $5.5 million in state aid added to their budget, the tuition increase could have been as high as 5.6%, according to the Higher Education Price Index model used by the Board of Regents to project the effects of inflation on education. If approved, the proposed tuition increase is projected to generate $35 million in incremental revenue for fiscal year 2023, just over 2% of the current operating budget.

In-state undergraduate students at the University of Iowa would pay an additional $355 a semester, while Iowa State University students would see a $354 increase and the University of Northern Iowa’s tuition would increase by $331 under the proposal. The Iowa Board of Regents also increased tuition for Iowa public universities in 2021.

The Iowa Board of Regents will meet on Monday for the first reading of the proposed tuition rates. (Screenshot courtesy of the Iowa Board of Regents)

Originally, the Iowa House passed an education budget with no additional funding for the three universities and instead proposed a $12 million scholarship program aimed at students pursuing high-demand jobs and combating the teacher shortage which ultimately failed. 

The proposed increase comes after years of cuts and status-quo funding. In 2021, the state took $7 million from the Regents’ budget and left funding flat for fiscal year 2022. This year, the Regents requested an additional $15 million from the state.

Base tuition for in-state graduate and professional students would also go up by 4.25% under the proposal.  Tuition for out-of-state undergraduates at the University of Iowa will go up by 1.17% while nonresident graduate students’ tuition will increase by 1.51%. Specific graduate programs at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have also proposed increases for the board to consider. These increases are isolated and are not in addition to the 4.25% increase.

Iowa State University students would pay the highest increase in student fees, shelling out an additional $145 to cover mental health services, modernization of technology and public transportation. Meanwhile, student fees at the University of Northern Iowa would go up $27 and the University of Iowa’s would increase by $56. Generally, student fees pay for additional student services such as health care, recreational services and technology. Student fee increases are proposed by each university for the board’s consideration.

The tuition hike aims to offset rising inflation and the terms of collective bargaining. The generated revenue will cover needed maintenance for academic facilities and support student financial aid programs. The Iowa Board of Regents will meet virtually at 10 a.m. Monday for the first reading of the proposal and allow for comments from student body presidents of each university. The livestream link can be accessed from the Iowa Board of Regents website.

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Kate Kealey
Kate Kealey

Katherine Kealey is a senior majoring in journalism and political science at Iowa State University. Before interning at the Iowa Capital Dispatch, she interned at the Carroll Times Herald. She served as the editor-in-chief of the Iowa State Daily in 2022.