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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 6, 2005

Regents float possibility of supplemental tuition for spring semester

by Anne Krapfl

For the first time, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, has suggested a supplemental tuition request for the 2005-06 school year. At the board's May 5 meeting, board president Michael Gartner read a statement he drafted with regent Robert Downer and the presidents of the three regent universities.

'Unless additional help comes from the Legislature, we will be forced to consider an added tuition rise of 3 percent for the second semester of the coming academic year. And even that will fill only a part of the [$18 million] gap," Gartner said, reading from the statement.

The announcement came during a teleconference from the capitol building with Gary Steinke, chief public affairs officer for the board. Steinke reported that Republican and Democrat senators had reached a compromise of $22 million in funding for the first year of the Regent Partnership Plan for Transformation and Excellence. The Iowa House has proposed less funding for the plan. The requested funding level from the board is $40 million.

Iowa State's portion of the $22 million would be about $8.8 million.

Steinke predicted the negotiating process between the two bodies would progress slowly and possibly be resolved in a conference committee in the next week or two.

After four years of budget cuts, Steinke said it's encouraging that the Legislature appears willing to appropriate new funds for higher education. "But it's disappointing that it's not enough," he said.

Reallocations remain at the max

Gartner noted that "the problem could be solved -- without a tuition increase -- if the Legislature would add 10 cents to the proposed increase in the Iowa cigarette tax and commit that revenue to the universities."

Gartner also said that the regent universities will reallocate $20 million as called for in the transformation proposal, even if the Legislature fails to fund the full $40 million. The proposal calls for the universities to reallocate $1 for every $2 in new funding for higher education from the state.