The institutions governed by the state Board of Regents saw a takeback of funding by the Iowa Legislature last year in the middle of fiscal 2017, and legislation proposed in the Iowa Senate on Jan. 25 shows more midyear budget cuts may be on the horizon.
The Senate has proposed a budget cut that would eliminate nearly $8.7 million in funding for the University of Iowa — more than the $5.1 million in midyear budget cuts to the three regent universities combined as proposed in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ budget released this month.
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Senate Study Bill 3089 would also cut $6.9 million from Iowa State University and $3.7 million from the University of Northern Iowa.
Regent Executive Director Mark Braun issued a statement following the Senate’s proposal, saying the “severe” fiscal 2018 cuts would disrupt campuses, but the regents will work to minimize the effect on students.
The regents will also continue to advocate for the funding of their $622.35 million fiscal 2019 appropriations request, including $12 million for resident undergraduate financial aid, Braun said.
“The state of Iowa ranks last in the nation in need-based financial aid to public university students,” he said.
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Braun said the regents are hopeful that state legislators and the governor will continue to work with the regents to lessen the proposed reductions.
“As the state of Iowa focuses on high-demand jobs, degree attainment, and the biosciences economy, cutting the public universities to this degree goes in the opposite direction of achieving these goals,” he said. “The public universities are key drivers in all three of these areas and are critical to the future economic success of our state.”
UI officials defaulted requests for comment to Braun’s statement and noted that the university does not comment on pending legislation.
The UI Student Government released a statement expressing disappointment with the proposal for midyear reductions and hoped to see the Legislature work to decrease the deappropriation.
“The proposed cuts will impact the quality of our education, and we do not deserve to have our degrees lose value because of unexpected budget challenges,” the statement said. “… We encourage students to use their voice by letting legislators know the importance of the University of Iowa and how these cuts would impact their education.”