Representatives of university students are concerned about a possible increase in tuition fees

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Student leaders at Iowa State Universities have said proposed tuition increases and the erosion of state support will not only hurt students, but also Iowa communities in the future. .

The Iowa board of directors will consider a proposal on Monday to increase in-state graduate and undergraduate tuition by 4.25%. The meeting will only be the first reading and the final vote will not take place until the July meeting.

Undergraduate students at all three universities would see a tuition increase of over $300 per semester. The proposal comes after lawmakers approved a just 1.1% increase in general state aid for the upcoming school year. The universities asked for a $15 million increase and received $5.5 million.

Iowa State University student body president Jacob Ludwig said in an interview that Iowa Regents universities have long benefited from being lower cost compared to universities in neighboring states. Every year that state support wanes, Iowa’s advantage fades.

“We’re really going to have to be cognizant of that reality and it’s something we’re going to have to present to lawmakers for years to come,” Ludwig said. “We’re going to have to do a better job of communicating not only that it’s important to fund public education, which is usually a public good, but also the value that we bring to Iowa, what is the investment that the state legislature does.”

University of Northern Iowa student body president Leila Mašinović said rising costs will keep some students from attending universities.

“At this point, we are not only affecting our students and their families and you know how they can afford college education, but we are also affecting the quality of our communities going forward,” Mašinović said. “I mean, if you raise the price so high, people are going to stop going to college because they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

The University of Iowa will offer a 1.17% increase for out-of-state undergraduate tuition and a 1.51% increase for out-of-state graduate students. These rates differ by market in the hope of attracting non-residents.

University of Iowa Student Body President Patrick Johnson said in an email response, “The University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government supports and advocates for access to affordable and quality education for all individuals. While appropriations decisions are ultimately determined by our leaders in the State Legislature, we remain committed to working with elected officials as well as Iowa Regents to ensure an education that meets the standards of universities in Iowa at an affordable cost for years to come. ”

Tuition fees are also increasing

When it comes to tuition, Iowa State students could face a $145 hike, while University of Iowa students will pay an additional $56 and Iowa State students University of Northern Iowa will pay an additional $27. All three universities have a tuition committee that meets with various departments to discuss financial needs and then produces funding recommendations for the board of trustees.

Ludwig also served on the Iowa State Tuition Committee. He said the fee increase was aimed at keeping services at current levels due to rising costs.

“If we’re going to increase fees, it’s only to keep the level up, because I don’t think students are asking for a lot of new services right now,” Ludwig said. “But obviously it really hurts when you lose big things, especially for advisers like health services. It’s not really an area where we can afford to cut funding.

The three universities have raised tuition to better equip mental health services on campus after years of high demand despite declining enrollment. Mašinović said students’ needs for mental health services have increased after the pandemic and she hopes the increase can meet the demand.

Graduates are still asking for a raise

A union of graduate student workers still plans to demand a pay rise for its members, Caleb Klipowicz said. He is the publicity chair of the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) union at the University of Iowa. Klipowicz said that while the regents could afford raises for administration, which were approved last month, COGS still plans to seek a salary increase for graduate students that matches inflation rates.

“If they’re not asking enough or doing enough on their end when it comes to the Board of Regents, that’s not our concern because honestly we’re here for the workers and we’re negotiating with the Board of Regents, not with the Legislative Assembly,” Klipowicz said. . “So we will continue to push for salaries that will work for us and it’s up to them to make it work for them at the other end. If it’s too hard for them, we can always stop.

Undergraduate student contracts, teaching assistants and resident advisers don’t have to pay tuition, but Klipowicz said not all graduate students are able to fill these roles every semester. .

“We already know that inflation is rising and the cost of living in Iowa City for an apartment is already taking more than half of our salary away from us,” Klipowicz said. “So it’s just going to add more and more financial burden that people are probably going to translate into additional student debt that they wouldn’t have had before.”

Students and others will have the opportunity to address the proposed increases at Monday’s board meeting, which will be held online.

Mašinović said the tuition increase will have greater implications for society as a whole, because greater educational opportunity means stronger communities within the state of Iowa.

“It’s so important that everyone comes out and votes because the people who decide these things are not the Board of Regents, they are the legislators,” Mašinović said. “So in order to have an understanding and a better support system for our students and everyone involved in the process, we need to make sure that we vote in people who we think will have a good impact… We need people we trust. in our legislative positions.

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