Tuition goes up by 4.25% at Iowa public universities

By: - July 27, 2022 5:03 pm

The Iowa Board of Regents approved increasing tuition at state public universities during their meeting at Iowa State University in Ames July 27. (Screenshot from Iowa Board of Regents YouTube channel)

Going to college will cost more at Iowa public universities starting next year, after the Iowa Board of Regents unanimously approved a tuition hike Wednesday.

The board voted in favor of increasing tuition by 4.25% at Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa. The new costs go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year.

Board members approved the increase quickly during the meeting, having spent several previous meetings debating the new costs. Students and other speakers argued that increasing tuition would make college less accessible in previous meetings, but board members maintained it was necessary to keep up with inflation.

During Wednesday’s meeting, board member David Barker cited the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), which projected a 3.7% inflation to the costs of running colleges in financial year 2023. The approved tuition increase exceeds that amount, but he said it’s offset by the board’s tuition decisions in previous years.

“We look over the last couple of years, our increases will be less than the cumulative increase in HEPI,” Barker said.

The Board of Regents also approved raising tuition in 2021, when costs increased by 3.5% for both University of Iowa and Iowa State University’s in-state students, and by 1.5% at the University of Northern Iowa.

The move comes after the Board of Regents failed to secure a requested $15 million increase in state funding during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers did approve an additional $5.5 million in general aid, but it came after the state took $7 million from the Regents’ budget in fiscal year 2021, and held funding flat in 2022. Compared to 2009, 2023 appropriations are down $85 million.

The tuition hike is expected to generate $35 million in incremental revenue for fiscal year 2023. That amount will help offset inflation of costs of goods and services used by universities, as well as the terms of collective bargaining headed into the new school year, according to a board report.

Students at the three universities will now pay more than $300 more in tuition each year.  Undergraduate tuition for Iowa residents will increase to $8,711 at University of Iowa, $8,678 at Iowa State University and $8,111 at University of Northern Iowa.

Rising costs will keep some students from attending college, student leaders said in June.

“At this point, we’re not only affecting our students and their families and you know how they can afford to get a college education, but we’re also affecting how the quality of our communities are looking like in the future,” University of Northern Iowa Student Body President Leila Mašinović said last month. “I mean, if you raise the price so high, people are going to stop going to college because they … won’t be able to afford it.”

In addition to tuition, student fees are also rising. Iowa State University students will see the highest increase at $145, fees which will cover mental health services, modernization of technology and public transportation. Students at University of Iowa will pay $56 more in student fees, and University of Iowa students will pay an additional $27.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

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